NHS Providers responds to 36,000 cancer appointments hit by strikes

12 September 2023

Responding to figures obtained by Labour through a Freedom of Information request, which show that around 36,000 NHS cancer appointments have been postponed due to strikes since industrial action started in December 2022, Miriam Deakin, director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers said:

"The longer these strikes continue, the greater the impact on patients and the NHS long term.

"Nearly 1 million appointments have had to be pushed back due to industrial action since December. Figures now show this includes around 36,000 patients who have had to wait longer than they should for a cancer appointment.

"Trust leaders are desperate to focus on their number one priority – patient care – but industrial action is hampering their hard efforts to bear down on backlogs.

"They understand why many staff feel pushed to walk out, but the escalating effect on patients and the health service comes at a high price.

"Instead of constructive dialogue between government and unions, further disruption looms.

"Next week, consultants and junior doctors are set to strike back-to-back across four days, including one day of joint action for the first time in NHS history.

"Worryingly, their second coordinated strike next month will now also overlap with radiographers for a day – the first time all three groups will walk out together.

"With another tough winter for the NHS on the horizon, resolving the ongoing pay dispute between the government and unions must be paramount."