Junior Doctors Begin Four-Day Strike

The latest junior doctor strike starts today (11 April 2023) and it will last for four days. It is expected to be the most disruptive strike in the history of the NHS.

It’s anticipated that more than a quarter of a million appointments and operations may be cancelled. And some hospitals have said up to half of planned treatment will be affected by strike action.

Concerns over ‘considerable risk’ caused by strikes

Speaking on junior doctors’ decision to take further strike action, health minister Steve Barclay said it was “extremely disappointing” that patients have been put at risk.

He also accused the British Medical Association (BMA) of timing the strike just after the Easter bank holiday weekend in order to cause “maximum disruption”. This is historically a week where the NHS faces greater demand, even in ‘normal’ circumstances.

Senior figures within the NHS have predicted that between 250,000 and 300,000 appointments could be cancelled or rescheduled as a result of the strike. And this won’t be restricted to hospitals as some GP surgeries and mental health services are preparing themselves for the impact.

The NHS has said it will continue to prioritise departments including critical care, neonatal care, maternity, and trauma operations. And the BMA has advised people to still ring 999 if they’re in a life-threatening condition, as these services are “working as normal”.

Doctors say current conditions are harming patients

Responding to the health minister’s comments on patient safety, junior doctors have argued that patients are already at risk due to the strains placed on staff and resources. And this is one of the main reasons they’ve decided to strike.

BBC News spoke to one junior doctor who said that she and her colleagues were “stretched to (their) limits”. She went on to say that it was a “common thing” for one junior doctor to be left alone with wards of patients to look after.

Other junior doctors have spoken about their experience of seeing colleagues leave for better paid jobs abroad as the NHS struggles to employ new recruits.

The BMA highlighted the severity of this situation, saying: “If junior doctors are forced out of the NHS because of poor pay and conditions, the services we all rely on to look after our loved ones will all suffer.”

What impact will the strike have on NHS services?

Prof Sir Stephen Powis, NHS England’s national medical director, has said it “will take weeks” to recover from the latest junior doctor strikes as “services will undoubtedly be affected”. He compared this week’s strike to the one that took place last month (March 2023), stating that there would be “considerably more” cancellations.

Patient safety should always be priority, and we know how devastating it can be when this isn’t the case. If you’ve been harmed or your condition has worsened due to substandard medical care in the last three years, we could help you.

Although strike action doesn’t amount to medical negligence, you may have a claim if you can prove that the care you received was negligent and that a competent healthcare professional would have acted differently.

To find out more, give our claims team a call or enquire online.


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