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Home Breaking NHS Consultants Stage Historic 48-Hour Strike, Routine Care Grinds to a Halt

NHS Consultants Stage Historic 48-Hour Strike, Routine Care Grinds to a Halt

In an unprecedented move, thousands of NHS consultants and hospital-based dentists have embarked on a 48-hour strike, marking the first major industrial action of this scale in nearly five decades. The walkout, which began at 07.00 on Thursday and will last until 7amon Saturday, has brought routine care to a “virtual standstill,” significantly impacting patient services.

NHS Providers, representing health trusts, has warned that this strike is likely to have the most significant effect on patient care due to the vital role consultants play in the functioning of the National Health Service. Chief Executive of NHS Providers, Sir Julian Hartley, stressed that the NHS cannot operate at full capacity without the expertise and contributions of consultants.

As a result of the strike, thousands of operations, procedures, and appointments have been cancelled, leaving hospitals with limited time to recover. The rescheduling of these appointments will be necessary as senior doctors step in to provide emergency cover, comparable to the arrangements in place during Christmas Day.

NHS England has expressed concerns about the severity of the impact, noting that the timing of the strike has left hospitals with fewer options to mitigate the consequences effectively. This walkout by senior doctors is expected to have the most severe repercussions compared to any other industrial action taken this year.

On the strike days, the public is urged to use 999 for life-threatening emergencies and NHS 111 online for other health concerns. While GP services and pharmacies will continue to operate as usual, consultants will not be available to see many patients and supervise the work of junior doctors.

The ongoing dispute between the government and consultants centers on a proposed 6% pay increase. This increase would see the basic pay for consultants starting at £93,666, with the most experienced consultants earning over £126,000 annually. However, it takes an average of 19 years in the role to reach the highest salary level.

On top of the stated salary, the average NHS consultant earns approximately 30% more, with half of this amount attributed to working additional hours. Other allowances, including the bonus system known as clinical excellence awards, also contribute to their overall earnings. Some consultants may also receive additional payment for private work, although not all engage in private practice.

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