…By Henry George for TDPel Media.
The upcoming industrial action by junior doctors in London is anticipated to be the longest single period of strikes in the history of the National Health Service (NHS).
With a conclusion scheduled for 7 am on Tuesday, July 18, this round of strikes follows three previous instances of industrial action.
Thousands of appointments and pre-planned operations are expected to be disrupted, as emergency and critical care will take priority.
Negotiations and Support:
In June, when the strikes were announced, Dr. Robert Laurenson and Dr. Vivek Trivedi, co-chairs of the BMA junior doctors committee, expressed their disappointment with the lack of engagement from Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Minister Steve Barclay.
They highlighted the absence of discussions and canceled meetings, which led to the collapse of previous talks.
The doctors emphasized the importance of pay restoration and expressed gratitude for the patient support they have received, as most junior doctors understand the significance of a well-staffed and resourced NHS.
Impact of Previous Strikes:
The last round of industrial action staged by the BMA occurred in June, resulting in the cancellation of nearly 33,000 hospital appointments and procedures in London.
London witnessed an average of 4,566 doctors participating in the strikes, which was significantly higher than the second most affected region, the North-East, by at least 600 doctors.
Prior strikes in March and April also led to the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of operations and procedures.
Stalemate Over Pay Increase:
Junior doctors are demanding a 35 percent pay increase to compensate for the inflation of the past 15 years, which has reduced their earnings by 26 percent.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay has deemed this demand unaffordable, and as a result, negotiations remain deadlocked.
The Department of Health and Social Care acknowledges the value of junior doctors’ work and highlights the increase in pay of 8.2 percent since 2019/20.
The Health Secretary has engaged with the BMA and other medical unions to address pay, conditions, and workload, emphasizing the government’s commitment to improving the NHS work environment.
Anticipated Impact on Hospitals:
Imperial College Healthcare Trust, responsible for overseeing Charing Cross Hospital and St Mary’s Hospital, expects a significant impact on its facilities as all services are subject to the strikes.
While urgent and emergency services, including A&E departments and maternity units, will continue to operate, most planned operations and outpatient appointments will likely need to be rescheduled.
The trust aims to notify affected individuals of the rescheduling by Monday, June 12, and arrange new appointments promptly.
Extended waits in A&E departments are expected during the strike period, and individuals seeking non-emergency medical assistance are encouraged to consult NHS 111 online or call 111.
Emergency cases should continue to dial 999.
List of Affected Hospitals:
The following hospitals in London are expected to be affected by the industrial action: Barnet, Beckenham Beacon, Charing Cross Hospital, Croydon, Ealing Hospital, Epsom, Great Ormond Street, Guy’s, Harrow, Hillingdon, Homerton, Jane Atkinson Centre, King George Hospital, King’s College, Kingston, Lewisham, Maudsley, Newham, North Middlesex UH, Northwick Park, Orpington, Princess Royal (Bromley), QEH Woolwich, Queen’s Hospital, Queen Mary’s (Sidcup), Queen Mary’s (Roehampton), Royal Free, Royal London, Royal Marsden, St. Anne’s, St. Bart’s, St. George’s, St. Mary’s, St. Thomas’, University College, and Whipps Cross.
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