First NHS consultant doctor strike in a decade to cause severe disruption across the east of England

Consultant doctors and hospital-based dentists will start their strike action between 7AM on Thursday 20 July through to 7AM on Saturday 22 July. This will be the first-time consultants have taken industrial action in over ten years, with widespread disruption expected across the NHS in the region.

Adam Cayley, Chief Operating Officer for the NHS in the east of England said: “From Thursday, staffing levels of consultants will only be able to provide emergency care, similar to arrangements for Christmas NHS service, but spread over two consecutive days.

“Consultants’ work cannot be replaced by other NHS colleagues. Therefore, any planned care delivered by junior doctors or other healthcare professionals requiring even remote consultant supervision will now have to be rescheduled.  

“Our advice to the public remains the same as during previous periods of strike action. Please use 999 in life-threatening emergencies and NHS 111 online for other health concerns. GP services and pharmacies are also available for patients and can be accessed in the normal way.”

NHS National Medical Director Professor Sir Stephen Powis added: “We are working closely with the British Medical Association and British Dental Association to ensure that emergency and urgent care is prioritised, and patients remain safe. However, as we are now in the eighth month of industrial action, with more than 600,000 appointments already affected nationally, it’s becoming even more challenging to get services back on track after each round of action.”

The planned strike action by consultants follows on from the longest period of industrial action in NHS history by junior doctors over five days, finishing early on Tuesday 17 July.  

The impact of that strike led to thousands of appointments being postponed. This consultant strike may well exceed that figure.  

If you haven’t been contacted or informed that your planned appointment has been postponed, please attend as normal.