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Longest strike in NHS history leads to over 113,000 patient cancellations – and impact may last for ‘months’ | UK News

The longest strike in NHS history, during which junior doctors walked out for six days, led to more than 113,000 patient operations, appointments and procedures being postponed, new figures show.

The industrial action started last Wednesday and continued until yesterday, with 25,446 staff absent from work at the peak, which was the day the strike started, 3 January.

According to NHS data, 113,779 inpatient and outpatient appointments had to be rescheduled, taking the total number since the health service strikes started in December 2022 to 1,333,221.

It means patients are “bearing the brunt” of the action, according to Louise Ansari, chief executive of Healthwatch England.

She said: “The cumulative effect of various strikes now hitting the NHS for more than a year also means people are experiencing multiple cancellations, affecting their confidence in health services, often leaving them in pain, feeling stressed and anxious.”

NHS leaders have warned the impact caused by the strike could last for “months”.

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, the national medical director for NHS England, said frontline staff were “very concerned” about the next few weeks as the “cold weather bites” and more people may need to be treated in hospital.

“This puts an incredible strain on staff who have been covering striking colleagues as we continue to navigate one of the most difficult times of year,” he said.

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, England's national medical director, warned the situation in the NHS will "become more challenging each day this strike progresses".
Professor Sir Stephen Powis, the national medical director for NHS England

Read more:
Adam Boulton: NHS pessimism creeping up
Hospitals plea for junior doctors to return to work
Several NHS trusts declare critical incident on first day of strike

The number of cancellations could be double those reported as hospitals pre-emptively did not book in pre-planned operations during strikes, according to experts.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “The national figure for the cancelled…

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This notice was published: 2024-01-10 21:46:00

By Sky News

Sky News is a British 24-hour information television channel, the first in Europe of its kind, launched on February 5, 1989 by the British Sky Broadcasting Company.

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