The Patients Association is deeply concerned about the impact on patient safety during the four-day strike by junior doctors, beginning on 11th April.

Our focus is always on patients receiving the best possible health and social care.  In our recent patient experience survey, the majority of respondents praised the knowledge and the compassionate attitude of healthcare staff. They received compassionate care despite the most recent NHS Staff Survey showing people working in the NHS are demoralised. Many staff members have left the service or are thinking of doing so. NHS staff is working under extreme pressure.

So we know the decision by junior doctors to strike for four days has not been taken lightly and we respect the right of any employee to take industrial action.

But a four-day strike does risk patient safety. The strike will have a knock-on effect across the entire NHS. Since industrial action began last December, more than 300,000 appointments have been delayed or cancelled; 175,000 were disrupted during the last junior doctors’ strike. We think many more appointments than that will be cancelled or postponed during next week’s junior doctors’ strike.

We believe patients have suffered enough during the pandemic and with rising waiting lists. No patient deserves to have an appointment cancelled, which they may have already waited months for, because of a failure of negotiation between the Government and BMA.   

We call on the Government to show leadership and resolve this dispute. Both the Government and the BMA must urgently return to talks and avert any further strikes. Patients’ safety is already compromised by the crisis in the NHS and we implore the Government to do everything in its power to prevent this strike.

5th April 2023
Photo credit: Junior doctors protesting in 2020 Rohin Francis