Shropshire Star

Data unveils how the junior doctors' strikes impacted Shropshire NHS patients and hospitals

Hundreds of operations and appointments were cancelled at Shropshire hospitals in the latest round of junior doctors strikes.

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The walk-out, which was the latest in the junior doctors' dispute with the former Conservative Government, took place from June 27 to July 2.

The BMA had faced criticism from some quarters for going ahead with the strike, knowing that the General Election was taking place just two days later.

Data published by NHS England shows just how many staff walked out in Shropshire, and how many operations, procedures and outpatient appointments were cancelled.

A total of 391 elective procedures and outpatient appointments were cancelled across Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) – which runs Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and Princess Royal Hospital Telford (PRH) and the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Gobowen (RJAH).

The greater number came at RJAH, with 257 cancelled, while there were 134 at SaTH.

In terms of the numbers of staff walking out, the NHS data actually shows that across all the strike days there were only 11 staff on strike at RJAH, compared with 564 at SaTH.

NHS England said that there had been 1,486,258 acute inpatient and outpatient appointments rescheduled since strikes began.

Across the country the latest action saw 61,989 inpatient and outpatient appointments rescheduled, and 23,001 staff absent from work due to strikes at the peak of the action.

New Health and Social Care Secretary Wes Streeting, right, said talks would restart next week.

'Nearly 62,000 appointments postponed in recent days'

Commenting on the impact across the country NHS national medical director Professor Sir Stephen Powis said: “These figures bring into sharp focus the impact that this latest round of industrial action has had on patients, with nearly 62,000 appointments postponed in recent days – but we know in reality this is likely to be even higher.

“I am extremely grateful to staff for working incredibly hard to keep patients safe and prioritise care for those who needed it most, when demand for urgent and emergency services has been high.

“Colleagues across the NHS will now be doing everything they can to ensure patients who were due to receive consultations, tests or treatment get appointments rebooked as quickly as possible.”

There is hope that a resolution to the long-running dispute could be in sight, with the new Health and Social Care Secretary, Wes Streeting, saying that negotiations with junior doctors will restart next week.

It came after Mr Streeting delivered on his promise to call junior doctors in England on "day one" of a Labour Government.

"I have just spoken over the phone with the BMA (British Medical Association) junior doctors committee, and I can announce that talks to end their industrial action will begin next week," Mr Streeting said in a statement.

"We promised during the campaign that we would begin negotiations as a matter of urgency, and that is what we are doing."

Mr Streeting has said previously he would not meet the 35 per cent, saying that if he gave in to the demand then "any trade union worth their salt" would come back the following year with the same request.

He has said there is "space for a discussion" on pay, as well as negotiations on how to improve working conditions for medics in training.

The BMA speaks with the new Health Secretary Wes Streeting

BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said in a statement: "We were pleased to speak to the new Health Secretary Wes Streeting, as he made good on his commitment made during the election campaign for JDC (the junior doctors' committee) to be his first call and get the ball rolling on negotiating a solution to the junior doctors' dispute.

"We expect talks to begin properly next week.

"As we have always been clear, only a credible offer, acceptable to our members, will end this dispute and we hope this will be made by the new government as soon as possible."

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