03 July 2023

Strikes have caused 650K cancellations – with more on the way

03 July 2023

Almost 650,000 appointments and operations have been postponed due to the wave of strikes which have hit the NHS in England in the run up to its 75th anniversary.

The unprecedented strikes have caused widespread disruption across the NHS since December 2022.

The first mass walkout of nurses in history took place in mid December – with ambulance workers, physiotherapists and other health workers following suit in subsequent weeks.

In March this year, junior doctors began the first in a wave of strikes, heaping further disruption on the health service.

Some 648,000 appointments, procedures and operations have been postponed as a result of the strikes in England.

And as the NHS braces itself for the largest doctors’ strike in its history, just days after its 75th anniversary, further cancellations are inevitable.

Later this month, junior doctors are planning to stage the largest walkout in the history of the NHS – a five-day strike from July 13-18.

And consultants – the most senior doctors in the NHS – are planning to stage industrial action on July 20-21, where they will only provide scaled-back “Christmas day cover”.

The British Medical Association has urged the Government to enter talks using the conciliation service Acas, saying that a precondition to not get round the table when strikes are planned is a “completely artificial red line”.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay insisted that his door is still open for negotiations, but said that there needs to be “movement on both sides”.

Some unions have settled the matter with ministers after the NHS Staff Council voted to accept the Government’s revised pay offer for staff of the Agenda for Change contract – including paramedics, nurses and physiotherapists.

This means that staff on the contract – which includes more than a million NHS workers – saw a bump in their pay packet at the end of June.

The new offer represented a 5% pay rise this year and a cash sum for last year for the majority of staff on the contract – which includes all NHS workers apart from doctors, dentists and very senior managers.

But the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Unite rejected the offer, though a ballot of RCN recently revealed that nurses did not wish to continue with strikes.

The Society of Radiographers has reached the mandate to strike and said that it is likely walkouts will take place later this month at 43 trusts around England.

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