The Patients Association is concerned for the safety and long-term well-being of patients who will be affected by the planned strikes announced by the BMA yesterday.

We are especially concerned about the possible impact on patients of both junior doctors and consultants in England being on strike at the same time on 20th September. A Christmas-day service with only emergency care available fills us with dread, as does the impact beyond the strike itself of this proposed joint action.

Nearly 1 million appointments and operations have been cancelled since industrial action in the NHS began last year. There are more than 7.5 million people on waiting lists; getting these patients the care they need is hampered by the impact the strikes continue to have on the NHS. Other parts of the health service including those provided by GPs and community services are affected by the strikes, which has a knock on effect on health services provided for all patients in the community.

From our perspective as an organisation that campaigns for patients to have access to and benefit from the health and care they need to live well, we are witnessing millions of patients going without services they need because of a failure of negotiation between the BMA and the Government.

This is unprecedented and, in our view, unacceptable.

So we repeat the call others have made earlier in this on-going dispute: the BMA and the Government must urgently call in a mediator to help them negotiate a settlement. Both organisations must work to bring this disruption to patient care to an end.

1st September 2023