uk nhs consultants announce dates for longest ever strike
The NHS is expected to encounter another winter of discontent as senior doctors announce their longest-ever strike action in October, amid a 48-hour strike on Thursday and another planned two days of industrial action on September 19-20.
Strikes To Push Cases Of Backlog Beyond 1 Million
As part of an ongoing pay dispute, NHS consultants would strike for three days for the first time, between October 2 and October 4. As with previous industrial action, the aforementioned strikes will allow for “Christmas Day” cover, meaning all routine care will come to a standstill.
NHS England predicts this week’s strike would push the number of postponed or cancelled appointments and operations due to industrial action across the NHS since last December beyond 1 million. About 890,000 appointments have already been given further dates.
In July, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced an end to pay negotiations, stressing consultants would receive a 6% rise. But the British Medical Association argues consultants’ take-home compensation has dropped by over a third in 14 years.
Conservatives Accused Of Not Wanting To Halt The Strikes
The potential worrying effect on patients “could be compounded by additional strike action from junior doctors if they secure another six-month strike mandate when their ballot closes next week,” Julian Hartley, the chief executive of NHS Providers, said.
On Monday, Health Minister Will Quince revealed in parliamentary answers to Labour Party that ministers had not met radiographers since July, junior doctors since May and NHS consultants since March. The party and the BMA accused ministers of not wanting to halt the strikes.
Amid the ongoing chaos, Health Secretary Steve Barclay expressed his concern and disappointment over the industrial action, reiterating no improved offer would be forthcoming. He called the 6% pay rise “final”, urging the BMA to call an end to strikes.