Earlier this month, junior doctors walked out as part of a planned 24 hour strike, affecting thousands of patients throughout the capital.
Up to 3,000 surgeries and procedures were cancelled but emergency care was covered by consultants and doctors during the walk out.
In the boroughs of Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham, where there are numerous hospitals which offer care to patients from across London it is estimated that as many as 1000 procedures were affected by the strike.
Jeremy Hunt, Minister for Health, claimed that 43% of junior doctors crossed picket lines and “actually turned up for work” therefore lessening the impact of the strikes. NHS England disputed the figure, saying that it incorporated doctors who had never intended to strike – including those working in emergency care.
The Chelsea and Westminster Hospital said in a statement: “only those patients with appointments deemed to be non-urgent by senior clinical staff were affected.” Nevertheless, this still meant that the hospital was forced to reschedule over 220 outpatient procedures, one elective appointment and ten day case procedures.
Similarly, Guy’s & St. Thomas Hospital was forced to reschedule 15% of its day’s non-urgent operations and as many as 400 outpatient appointments.
The Imperial Healthcare trust which manages the Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital, St. Mary’s, and Western Eye Hospital had to cancel 17% of its planned outpatient procedures.
The Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS, which does not provide emergency care, only had to rearrange “11 non-urgent procedures [and] operations” as a consequence of the junior doctor’s strike.
Cancelled non-emergency operations and procedures are estimated to impacted in the region of 20,000 people nationwide. When asked about the backlog created by the strike the Imperial NHS trust said that all cancelled operations would be “rescheduled to take place within two weeks.”
Dr Johann Malawana, BMA junior doctor committee chair, said that they “deeply regret the disruption caused to patients.”
He added: “junior doctors already work around the clock seven days a week and they do so under their existing contract. If the Government want more seven-day services then, quite simply, they need more doctors, nurses and diagnostic staff, and the extra investment needed to deliver it.”