Almost 835,000 patient appointments have been postponed since December when industrial action in the health service in England began.

We cannot predict how many appointments will be postponed because of the forthcoming junior doctors strike, which starts this Friday, but tens of thousands were rescheduled because of last month’s industrial action.

While we respect the right of any employee to consider and take industrial action, and know for many NHS employees going on strike is very much the last option, the impact on patients is significant.


There are now nearly 7.5 million patients in England waiting to start planned care. Thousands on the waiting list have been waiting for more than a year.

Each time industrial action is taken, there is further disruption to patient care and more patients find themselves added to the waiting list. We understand that many hospitals have simply stopped booking appointments on strike days to avoid having to postpone and re-book patients.

This week’s junior doctors strike will last four days. The consultants strike this month is for two days, as is the one planned in September.

The consequences for the millions of patients affected cannot be underestimated as this dispute drags on.


Even before industrial action started last year, many patients were finding it a challenge to access the care and treatment they need to live well. We have heard from patients how the impact of their health conditions has left them in isolation and with worsening mental health, in additional to any physical health problems.

Patients suffered during the pandemic. They have suffered as the crisis in the NHS has deepened. And patients are suffering now because the Government and BMA are not talking to one another.


Once again, we call on the Government to show leadership and resolve this dispute. The Government and the BMA must return to talks to prevent the planned strike action. Patients’ safety and well-being are suffering, and the Government must do everything in its power to prevent future industrial action in the NHS.

9th August 2023

Photo credit: Junior doctors protesting in 2020 Rohin Francis