September 26, 2023

Greater than 175 000 deliberate hospital appointments and procedures have been postponed throughout final week’s 72 hour strike by junior docs, present official knowledge from NHS England.1

The discharge of the figures got here as BMA leaders agreed to fulfill England’s well being and social care secretary, Steve Barclay, this week to attempt to resolve the dispute over pay and situations that prompted the three day walkout.

Responding to the info on cancelled appointments, the co-chairs of the BMA’s Junior Medical doctors Committee, Vivek Trivedi and Robert Laurenson, stated, “Daily junior docs despair as they see operations cancelled and therapy postponed for the thousands and thousands on the ready lists as a result of our well being providers are in disaster. However rescheduling appointments on account of the strike motion may have been averted if the well being secretary had come to the desk and negotiated an agreed settlement with us earlier than any strike motion was taken.

“Junior docs are eager to see their pay restored and to keep away from additional disruption to affected person care, so if the well being secretary is as dedicated to discovering a settlement as he claims to be it’s inside his reward to supply a deal so junior docs can earn what they’re price, keep away from additional strike motion, and provides sufferers the care they deserve.”

A Division of Well being and Social Care spokesperson stated that the federal government deeply regretted the cancellations, including, “Nonetheless, we’re happy the BMA has now accepted our provide to enter talks based mostly on the identical phrases as with the Agenda for Change unions—which concluded positively.

“We wish to discover a honest settlement which recognises the essential function of junior docs and the broader financial pressures going through the UK, as we now have completed with different unions.”

The chief government of NHS Suppliers, Julian Hartley, stated that the walkout had been “vastly disruptive for affected person care,” with the variety of postponements greater than doubling the whole brought on by different latest strikes.

“A failure to discover a deal may result in additional strikes, inflicting extra disruption and misery for sufferers, and additional setting again hardwon progress in tackling care backlogs,” he stated.

“Belief leaders do after all perceive why many employees have reached the troublesome determination to strike. However as [last week’s] up to date pay provide for different NHS employees confirmed, the place there’s a will from all events, there’s a method. It’s very important the federal government and unions get across the desk and discuss to avert additional strikes.”

Responding to the figures, Matthew Taylor, chief government of the NHS Confederation, stated the “large” impression “should immediate the federal government and BMA to get again around the desk to carry an finish to the dispute.”

However Taylor warned that the “elephant within the room”—how any pay enhance could be funded—have to be clarified as a “matter of urgency” amid fears that the federal government might ask the NHS to make additional cuts from its personal funds to fund the employees pay enhance. “We can’t be put in a state of affairs the place leaders are unable to recruit extra employees as a result of they’re having to pay extra to the employees already employed from [the] current funds,” he warned.