NEARLY 650,000 NHS appointments and surgeries have been postponed so far this year due to a wave of strikes.
The unprecedented industrial action has caused widespread disruption since December 2022 – and more chaos is on the way.
The first mass strike by nurses in history took place just before Christmas – paramedics, physiotherapists and other health workers followed suit in the weeks that followed.
In March of this year, young doctors launched the first strike, which led to further disruption in the health system.
In England alone, around 648,000 appointments, procedures and surgeries were postponed as a result of the strikes.
And as the NHS prepares for the biggest doctors’ strike in history just days after its 75th anniversary, more cancellations are inevitable.
They will be going out for five days from July 13th to 18th.
And advisers – the most senior doctors in the NHS – plan to wage a labor dispute on July 20-21, during which they will only offer reduced “Christmas insurance”.
Hardliners are even threatening to continue their campaign beyond 2025.
The British Medical Association called on the government to start negotiations on the Acas conciliation service, saying that a “completely artificial red line” was a prerequisite for not coming to the negotiating table when planning strikes.
Acas said today it was “well prepared and ready to help resolve the bitter dispute”.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay insisted his door was still open for negotiations and he was ready to offer a bigger pay rise, but said there had to be “movement on both sides”.
Some unions have settled the matter with ministers after the NHS staff council voted to accept the government’s revised salary offer for Agenda for Change contract staff – including paramedics, nurses and physiotherapists.
That means contract staff – including more than a million NHS workers – faced a pay rise at the end of June.
The new offer meant a five per cent pay rise this year and a cash payment for last year for the majority of contract staff – including all NHS staff except doctors, dentists and senior managers.
But the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Unite rejected the offer, although a recent RCN vote showed nurses did not want to continue with the strikes.
The Society of Radiographers has won the strike mandate and said there are likely to be walkouts at 43 trusts across England later this month.