'Lives will be lost': Labour peer Lord Winston warns of 'unnecessary grief' caused by doctors' strikes

19 September 2023, 18:42 | Updated: 19 September 2023, 19:25

Lord Winston warned of the 'corrosive' effect of strikes in the NHS
Lord Winston warned of the 'corrosive' effect of strikes in the NHS. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Asher McShane

Labour peer and professor Lord Winston has warned of the ‘corrosive’ effect of NHS strikes on not only patients but for medicine itself.

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Speaking with Andrew Marr on LBC, leading fertility doctor Lord Winston said the strikes pose a “massive moral dilemma.”

“The risk of a strike is very serious, not only for patients, but for medicine, because I believe it has a corrosive effect on healthcare," he said.

“I wish they were not striking, I have to say.”

“It inevitably means that lives will be lost. My wife died because we didn’t get an ambulance in time.

“That sort of thing is going to happen. It won’t be exactly like that but it will be similar.

Lord Robert Winston on the latest NHS strikes

“There is bound to be unnecessary grief.

“As a medic or as a nurse we have a duty to continue that profession not just during our professional life but during our social and other lives as well.

“This challenge by the government is a foolish one on both sides… I think the government has behaved horrendously badly, but I regret that the doctors finally feel forced to strike.”

Thousands of NHS consultants are on strike across England in a dispute over pay as the health service braces itself for another wave of industrial action.

Consultants walked out at 7am today, and will be joined by junior doctors on Wednesday morning.

Junior doctors, who have held 19 days of strike action since March, will then continue their strike on Thursday and Friday this week.

Both consultant and junior doctor members of the British Medical Association (BMA) will again join forces for strikes on October 2, 3 and 4.

Thousands of operations and appointments have been cancelled as a result of the strikes, with NHS leaders warning that some patients are seeing their appointments rescheduled three times.

A Christmas Day-style service will be provided on the joint strike action days, with emergency care the priority.

It comes as the Government outlined plans to extend strike laws to ensure doctors and nurses in hospitals provide a minimum level of cover.

The new regulations, which are open to consultation, would mean doctors and nurses have to provide a certain level of cover after being issued with a "work notice" by employers on what is needed to maintain "necessary and safe levels of service".

Consultations on minimum service levels have already run for ambulance staff, fire and rescue services and passenger rail workers, after the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act became law.

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