Patients face significant impact ahead of junior doctor strikes

Matthew Taylor speaks ahead of the junior doctor strikes

23 February 2024

Speaking as junior doctors across England prepare to strike, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

“Health leaders and their staff have once again pulled out all the stops in preparation for what is set to be another intense round of strike action by junior doctors.

“However, the current backdrop of high bed occupancy, seasonal illnesses and delayed discharges still lingers as staff grapple with these winter pressures, which will now be further exacerbated due to the disruption. Most importantly it will be patients who bear the greatest burden from this latest round of industrial action, with more than 1.3 million appointments and procedures already cancelled in the last year due to strikes.

“The NHS will still be there for people in an emergency however the impact on frontline services is likely to be significant and will once again jeopardise efforts to recover and tackle waiting lists. Over the 5-day walkout the main blow will be seen in elective care where we expect cancellations before, during and after the strikes, including cancer operations which will be majorly disrupted and hit with delays and cancellations. This will mean that some of the very sickest patients will suffer the most from the impact.

“This entrenched period of strike action has now gone on for far too long, and for the sake of the patients who need the NHS for their health and wellbeing, both sides must get back around the table and reach level ground.”