Doubled disruption underlines need for pay breakthrough

17 March 2023

Responding to new situation report data published by NHS England today, which shows more than 175,000 appointments and procedures have been postponed due to strike action by junior doctors earlier this week, the chief executive of NHS Providers, Sir Julian Hartley, said:

"As trust leaders feared, this week's 72-hour walkout by junior doctors has been hugely disruptive for patient care, with more than 175,000 planned hospital appointments and procedures postponed over three days. This more than doubles the total caused by previous recent strikes.

"The combined figure for physical and mental health services was 181,049.

"This underlines why it's so important for the government and unions representing junior doctors to find a way through in this dispute.

"Both the government and the British Medical Association have shown a welcome willingness to start talks. These now need to happen without further delay.

"A failure to find a deal could lead to further strikes, causing more disruption and distress for patients, and further setting back hard-won progress in tackling care backlogs.

"Trust leaders do of course understand why many staff have reached the difficult decision to strike.

"But as yesterday's updated pay offer for other NHS staff showed, where there is a will from all parties, there is a way. It's vital the government and unions get around the table and talk about to avert further strikes.

"It's vital though that any deals are fully funded rather than relying on raids on NHS budgets, which would take money away from key services."