200,000 appointments were postponed because of doctors' strike

Damning toll of worst ever NHS strike laid bare: 200,000 operations and appointments were postponed because of four-day junior doctors’ walk-out

  • Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson said negotiations with the RCN will not be reopened
  •  54% of the union’s balloted members rejected pay rise and one-off bonus
  • Pat Cullen, chief executive of the RCN, said that the union will ‘get a better deal’

More than 200,000 NHS procedures and appointments were postponed because of the devastating four-day junior doctors’ strike. 

It means the historic walk-out — organised to coincide with fragile hospital staffing rotas around the Easter holidays — caused more carnage than any other during the ongoing pay dispute.

Tens of thousands of junior doctors took to picket lines in pursuit of a whopping 35 per cent pay rise between April 11-15.

Sir Stephen Powis, national medical director for the NHS, branded the impact of the unprecedented 96-hour strike ‘colossal’.

He said: ‘Today’s figures lay bare the colossal impact of industrial action on planned care in the NHS.

It puts to end the dispute that saw tens of thousands of union members strike over the winter months, leading to mass disruption across the health service

Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson today said pay negotiations with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) will not be reopened

‘Each of the appointments postponed has an impact on the lives of individuals and their families and creates further pressure on services and on a tired workforce.’

Sir Stephen said the figure, published by NHS England, may be an underestimate of the true impact because some hospitals chose not to schedule appointments on the strike days.

He added: ‘Our staff now have an immense amount of work to catch up on hundreds of thousands of appointments, all while continuing to make progress on tackling the backlog of people who have been waiting the longest for treatment.’

READ MORE NHS paramedics, nurses and hospital porters who are part of Unison have accepted Government pay offer 

Paramedics, nurses and hospital porters in England who are members of Unison have accepted the Government’s pay offer. Pictured: Unison ambulance workers on the picket line outside London Ambulance Service in Waterloo, south London, on February 10 2023


Sir Stephen said the impact ‘becomes harder’ with each strike and that ‘the impact on patients and staff will unfortunately continue to worsen’.

NHS Providers chief executive Sir Julian Hartley said: ‘As feared, the four-day strike by junior doctors has led to the biggest disruption for patients yet… We can’t go on like this.

‘The huge number of rescheduled operations and appointments will keep climbing unless the government sits down with unions to find a way to prevent more strikes.’

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: ‘This strike action is going on much longer than expected and will have long-term consequences for patients.

‘If there are to be further strikes, it is vital that derogations are set out as soon as possible and before further action takes place, so leaders can ensure safe levels of staffing, particularly for urgent and emergency care. 

‘Otherwise, it will be tougher for NHS leaders to plan and mitigate the effects of strike action, meaning that the impact of any disruption could be far worse than what we have already seen.’

Around half a million appointments and procedures have now been suspended since the winter of discontent began. 

The British Medical Association (BMA), which orchestrated the junior doctors’ walk-out, is feared to be plotting even more walk-outs in May in order to bring the ailing health service to a standstill once more.

There are also fears it might coordinate with other unions to cripple the NHS. 

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has also announced a fresh 48-hour strike at the end of April after rejecting No10’s ‘final’ pay offer. 

For the first time since walk-outs began, nurses working in A&E, intensive care and cancer wards will picket.

Pat Cullen, chief executive of the union, today said that the RCN will ‘get a better deal’ and urged the Government to ‘pay nurses decently’ and ‘add to’ what they had already offered

Ms Cullen confirmed that the next nurses strike will run over the early May Bank Holiday, from 8pm on April 30 to 8pm on May 2

Fellow union Unite, which was given the same deal, today also revealed it would be holding more action in May because the sum is ‘nowhere near good enough’. 

Unison, however, ‘decisively accepted’ the same offer, which amounted to a five per cent pay rise this year plus a one-off bonus averaging 6 per cent.

Downing Street has ruled out improving its pay offer for more than a million workers covered by that deal.

But RCN boss Pat Cullen said: ‘We will have to get a better deal.’ 

Read more: Rishi Sunak says he WON’T offer NHS workers a better pay deal after nurses’ union rejects offer, announces fresh strike and warns action could last until Christmas

Labour’s Wes Streeting today called on Health Secretary Steve Barclay to ‘swallow his pride’ and call in conciliation service Acas to ‘mediate an end’ to the action.

NHS England data showed 20,470 inpatient procedures had to be rescheduled due to the junior doctors’ walk-out last week.

This can include routine procedures like hip and knee replacements, which require an overnight stay in hospital.

The majority (175,755) were outpatient cases, such as X-rays and minor procedures.

The rest of the cancellations were for community services appointments and mental health and learning disability appointments.

An average of 26,145 staff per day were absent from work as a result of the industrial action.

Where will nurses strike on April 30? 

The RCN has said the 48-hour, no exceptions walkout will be held at the following NHS workplaces in England.:

East Midlands 

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust 

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust 

East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust 

Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

NHS Derby and Derbyshire ICB 

NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire ICB 

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust 

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust 

Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust 


Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust 

Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust 

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust 

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust 

NHS Hertfordshire and West Essex ICB 

NHS Mid and South Essex ICB 

NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB 

NHS Suffolk and North East Essex ICB 

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust 

Norfolk Community Health and Care 

NHS Trust Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust 


Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust

Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust 

Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust 

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust 

Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

NHS North Central London ICB 

NHS South West London ICB 

Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust 

St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust 

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

North West 

Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust 

Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust 

Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust 

Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust 

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust 

Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

NHS Cheshire and Merseyside ICB 

NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB 

North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust 

St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust 

Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust 

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust 

The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust 

The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust 

Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust 

Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

Wrightington Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust 


Country Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust 

Gateshead NHS Foundation Trust 

North of England Commissioning Support (NECS) 

North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust 

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust 

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust 

South East 

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust 

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust 

NHS Kent and Medway ICB 

NHS Surrey Heartlands ICB 

Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

South East Coast Ambulance Service 

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust 

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust 

University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust 

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust 

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust 

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust 

Solent NHS Trust 

South Central Ambulance Services NHS Foundation Trust 

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust 

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust 

South West 

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust 

Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust 

Devon Partnership NHS Trust 

Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust 

Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust 

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

NHS Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire ICB 

NHS Devon ICB (One Devon) 

NHS Dorset ICB (One Dorset) 

NHS Gloucestershire ICB (One Gloucestershire) 

North Bristol NHS Trust 

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust 

Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust 

Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust 

Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust 

Somerset NHS Foundation Trust 

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust 

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust 

University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust 

University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust 

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust 

West Midlands 

Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust 

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust 

Midlands and Lancashire CSU 

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust 

NHS Birmingham and Solihull ICB (BSol ICB) 

NHS Black Country ICB 

Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust 

The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust 

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust 

Yorkshire and the Humber 

Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust 

Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust 

NHS North West Yorkshire ICB 

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust 

Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust 

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust 

York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 

National employers 

Health Education England 

NHS Blood and Transplant 

NHS England NHS Resolution 

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