350,000 healthcare appointments axed as Junior Doctors begin strike over pay

Junior doctors in England began a four-day strike over pay on Tuesday, threatening to be the most disruptive walkout in NHS history.

As a result of the British Medical Association (BMA) members’ action in their worsening pay dispute, an estimated 250,000 to 350,000 appointments, including operations, will be cancelled.

Doctors staged picket lines outside hospitals including London’s Whittington, Central Middlesex, Ealing, and Northwick Park from 7 a.m. on Tuesday until 7 a.m. on Saturday.

It is the longest strike of the year, with nurses, ambulance crews, and other health workers striking since last year.

More than 50,000 operations and appointments are expected to be cancelled as a result of the strikes, which are expected to involve 5,700 London doctors.

Whittington Health NHS Trust announced last week that it had made the “difficult decision” to cancel all non-urgent care as a result of the action.

As a result, managers have warned that patient care is “on a knife edge.”

The BMA is requesting a 35% pay increase for junior doctors in order to reverse a real-terms income decline since 2008. A Foundation Year 1 doctor earns around £29,000 per year, increasing to £34,000 the following year.

Following the Easter bank holiday weekend, when the NHS already faces increased demand and staff absence, the timing of the strike is as important as its scale.

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