The number of acute inpatient and outpatient appointments rescheduled as a result of strike action by junior doctors and consultants has now exceeded one million, according to new figures.
Data on industrial action taken by NHS staff last week saw an additional 129,913 appointments rescheduled, with 26,802 staff absent from work at the peak of strike action.
There were a further 3,581 cancellations in mental health, learning disability and community settings also recorded.
The total number of appointments which have had to be rescheduled since December 2022 now stands at 1,015,067, the figures show.
NHS national medical director for secondary care and transformation Dr Vin Diwakar said: “These figures reveal just part of the relentless impact of strikes over the last ten months.
“We know that each appointment rescheduled is incredibly difficult for patients and families, and as we prepare for further joint action next week, there is precious little time for staff and services to recover.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Today marks the grim milestone of over one million appointments cancelled as a result of strikes, with coordinated and calculated industrial action by the BMA creating further disruption and misery for patients and NHS colleagues.
“Regrettably, the BMA is threatening to escalate strike action again next month, which would mean the number of cancellations rising further and adding to the pressures on health services as we head into winter.”
Mr Barclay added that doctors had received a “fair and reasonable pay rise” following recommendations by independent pay review bodies.
He said: “Those who started their hospital training this year are receiving a 10.3% pay increase, with the average junior doctor getting 8.8% and consultants are receiving a 6% pay rise alongside generous reforms to their pensions, which was the BMA’s number one ask.
“My door is always open to discuss how we can work together with NHS staff to improve their working lives, but this pay award is final so I urge unions to end this damaging disruption.”
For the first time in NHS history both sets of staff took joint action, as consultants walked out on 19 September with junior doctors accompanying them a day after.
Nurses kickstarted the protests against pay levels and patient safety concerns last December after the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) held the first nationwide strike in its 106-year history.
Ambulance workers and junior doctors have staged multiple strikes over the past year, mainly related to pay, working conditions and staffing.
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