More than 175,000 NHS appointments lost after junior doctors went on strike

17 March 2023, 19:15

Doctors strikes have cost 175,000 appointments
Doctors strikes have cost 175,000 appointments. Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Kit Heren

More than 175,000 appointments and procedures were lost amid the three-day junior doctors' strike this week, the NHS has said.

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The doctors went on strike from 7am on Monday, March 13 to the same time on Thursday, March 16 because of a pay dispute.

Appointments and procedures had to be cancelled for safety reasons because of the lack of doctors during the strikes.

NHS medical director Professor Sir Stephen Powis said the strike has been on "an unprecedented scale and had a greater impact than all the other industrial action we have seen so far this winter combined".

Sir Stephen said: "Despite the huge efforts that NHS staff made to keep patients safe and minimise disruption, this strike was on an unprecedented scale and had a greater impact than all the other industrial action we have seen so far this winter combined.

Junior doctors went on strike this week
Junior doctors went on strike this week. Picture: Getty

"Over 175,000 appointments and procedures were rescheduled to protect emergency, critical and urgent care for patients, which will inevitably impact on efforts to tackle the Covid backlog."

Leaders of junior doctors want an early meeting with Health Secretary Steve Barclay to help resolve their pay dispute, which led this week's walkout.

The British Medical Association has exchanged letters with the Government following yesterday's announcement of a new offer to other NHS workers.

The union is demanding "pay restoration" for junior doctors, who can have many years' experience and make up about 45% of the medical workforce.

LBC: Lewis Goodall: Could a pay deal not have been reached sooner?

It says their pay has fallen in real terms by 26% since 2008/09 and reversing this would require a 35.3% pay rise.

Mr Barclay has called on junior doctors to follow the example of other health unions, who on Thursday said they will recommend a pay deal to NHS staff including nurses and ambulance workers.

He said: "We have offered the same terms to the junior doctors that were accepted by the other trade unions and that is what I hope the junior doctors will respond to."

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