Thousands of doctors in England plan new work stoppage

A planned four-day strike by tens of thousands of doctors in England next week could lead to the postponement of a quarter of a million medical appointments, a National Health Service official said on Saturday.

Dr Layla McCay, policy director for the NHS Confederation, said the impact is expected to be far greater than a three-day strike last month by doctors starting their careers and that led to the postponement of 175,000 appointments and procedures.

“The impact is going to be so significant that it is likely to have an impact on patient safety, and that is a huge concern for all health care authorities,” McCay told BBC Radio 4.

The planned strike for Tuesday by so-called junior doctors will be the latest in a wave of disruptive labor measures by public sector workers demanding wage increases to offset inflation that tops 10%. A cost-of-living crisis fueled by sharp increases in food and energy prices has left the population struggling to pay their bills, as union wages have fallen in real terms over the past decade.

Last week, passport office workers went on a five-week strike and Heathrow airport security officers walked off the job for 10 days. Strikes by train and bus drivers, postal workers, ambulance drivers and nurses have wreaked havoc.

The teachers, who recently rejected a pay increase they deemed unacceptable, plan to strike on April 27 and May 2, further affecting parents and students.

The British Medical Association reported that young doctors have lost more than 26% of their salary in real terms over the last 15 years. The union said strikes could be avoided if the government makes a reasonable offer.

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The Department of Health and Social Care has insisted that the strikes be called off before negotiations take place.

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