First walkout by senior doctors on £128k ‘will bring NHS to a standstill’ tomorrow

HOSPITALS will “come to a standstill” tomorrow as NHS consultants stage their first strike in a pay row.

Senior medics in the British Medical Association will walk out on Thursday and Friday, less than 48 hours after the junior doctors’ strike ended on Tuesday morning.

PAThe consultants strike will come just two days after the latest walkout by junior doctors (pictured)[/caption]

There will be almost no staff senior enough to cover their shifts.

Professor Stephen Powis, medical director at NHS England, said: “This could be the most severe impact we have ever seen in the NHS as a result of industrial action, with routine care virtually at a standstill for 48 hours.

“Consultants will not only stop seeing patients themselves, but they won’t be around to supervise the work of junior doctors, which impacts thousands of appointments.”

More than half a million appointments and operations have been postponed due to NHS strikes so far this year.

Emergency services will still run as normal during the walkout but many planned ops and check-ups will be rescheduled.

NHS chiefs say constant disruption is wrecking plans to clear the Covid backlog, with a record 7.5million patients now waiting for treatment.

It is also costing bosses dearly, with millions of pounds spent on shift cover every day that staff refuse to work.

The BMA’s top-flight docs want a boost to their six-figure salaries, despite earning an average of around £128,000 per year.

Union leaders were this week blasted for claiming consultants have been hit harder by inflation than other public sector workers. 

Saffron Cordery, of NHS Providers which represents hospital bosses, said: “Prolonged industrial unrest is undermining NHS trusts’ efforts to recover care backlogs.

“It could jeopardise the government’s pledge to reduce waiting times.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last week said a six per cent pay rise was his final offer.

The PM’s spokesman said yesterday: “Consultants should be in no doubt that this has the capacity to cause patient harm and it does nothing to help us, collectively, cut waiting times.

“Consultants are already some of the highest paid individuals in the country.

“These are highly paid individuals receiving a significant pay increase, so we would ask them to think again.”

Dr Vishal Sharma, a chair of the BMA’s consultants committee, said: “We are deeply disappointed that we have not had a single meeting with the secretary of state since our ballot result.

“Patient safety is an absolute priority for consultants, which is why we gave six weeks’ notice of these strike dates.

“It is with a heavy heart that consultants have backed this strike, but we are doing so because we care about patients and the NHS, which is currently failing to deliver the quality of care that patients deserve.”

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