Junior doctors plan next strike as NHS across the region braces itself for more disruption

Thousands of NHS appointments and procedures are to be postponed across the region, as junior doctors plan their next strike at the end of this week.

Junior doctors across the east of England will take begin their industrial action from 7am on Friday 11 August until 7am on Tuesday 15 August. This represents the ninth month of industrial action across NHS services this year and represents the fifth strike taken by junior doctors.

Agency cover arrangements that had previously helped alleviate the impact of strikes have now been stopped, after a recent ruling by the High Court. This however does not apply to a hospital’s own ‘bank’ staff and guidance from NHS Employers on this has been shared with local trusts.

During the last strike by junior doctors held between Thursday 13 July to Tuesday18 July, this disruption led to a total of 1,599 inpatient procedures having to be rescheduled and the postponement of 11,064 outpatient appointments.

Despite the forthcoming period of industrial action, the NHS will continue to prioritise emergency care and the public is urged to continue using 999 in life threatening emergencies and NHS 111 online for other health concerns. Patients should also turn up to their appointments as normal, unless they’ve been advised these have been cancelled.

GPs and pharmacies are also open and largely unaffected during the strike period.

Edward Morris CBE, Regional Medical Director & Chief Clinical Information Officer from NHS England for the East of England said: ”With every strike day lost, we see an increase in the backlog of essential NHS work and further pressure put on other staff across the region. This time, the summer holiday period has made it particularly challenging to fill staff schedules so that we maintain the safety levels required.

“Patients in need of emergency care should continue to come forward, but we fear thousands of appointments will be postponed again, and so urge the relevant parties to find a way to end the dispute once and for all.”