NHS Confederation responds to BMA's new strike dates

Matthew Taylor responds to the news that junior doctors will hold strikes from 11-15th April.

23 March 2023

Responding to the news that junior doctors will hold strikes from 11-15th April, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation said:

“This hugely disappointing news will be a blow to leaders’ efforts to tackle the backlog and further industrial action will have a significant impact on patient care.

“Leaders will have been hoping for progress and an outcome similar to negotiations with the agenda for change unions so news of another, longer walkout is a huge setback for plans. Sadly, it is inevitable that this will impact on patient safety and dignity.

“The level of disruption caused by the last junior doctors’ walkout was greater than that of all the other recent strikes put together, so leaders will be dismayed about a repeat and worried about the impact on patient care, particularly just after Easter.

“Based on last time, it seems likely that up to a quarter of a million appointments and operations may need to be postponed as a result of this next wave of strikes.

“Complicating matters further is the fact that leaders are unlikely to be able to call again on consultants in the same way to fill in rota gaps, due to many having accumulated leave from providing cover during the first strikes. This poses a huge challenge to services already stretched by having too few staff, so another walkout poses a real risk to patient safety. We know that no one wants to take industrial action and choosing to strike is not a decision anyone takes lightly, but we would encourage junior doctors to further reflect on the potential damage a four-day walkout could do, and what it will mean for patients.

“That said, the government must act decisively to provide a meaningful incentive to make junior doctors reconsider and come back to the table. Digging in and dragging this out does no one any favours, least of all patients, so a swift resolution must be found; both sides must be willing to make compromises in order for that to happen.”