Junior Doctors’ Strike In UK Threatens Hospital Operations, Critical Patient Care

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The 72-hour junior doctor strike in the UK began on Monday.

As many as 61,000 junior doctors employed with the National Health Scheme (NHS) are on strike across England complaining of low pay and poor working conditions. The strike has severely disrupted hospital operations in the country, according to The Guardian. Thousands of outpatient appointments have already been cancelled and surgical procedures postponed after the junior doctors stopped work, the outlet further said. The doctors started the 72-hour strike from 7am on Monday demanding a 26 per cent increase in pay.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay urged the protesting doctors to call off the strike but the British Medical Association (BMA) and Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) are pressing ahead with their action, The Guardian report further said.

The government committed to discussing a one-time payment for the year 2022-23 and an unspecified hike next year, but has not agreed to the 26 per cent increase, said the doctors’ unions.

The junior doctors have also refused to work in emergency services, and critical care and maternity wards.

“What worries me most is that there’ll be fewer medical rounds on the wards than usual and that one or two consultants will have a lot of beds to look after, and may also have to keep an eye on people in A&E, and so may not be able to see every patient every day the way we expect these days,” a CEO of one of the hospitals told The Guardian.

“Therefore patients whose health is deteriorating could get missed. There is a risk of us missing opportunities to intervene with people and prevent them coming to harm, because we just won’t have the number of bodies on the ground from a medical perspective that we usually do,” the official added.

NHS officials said they will deploy senior doctors and advised people to dial 999 in case of emergency, according to the BBC.

They are prioritising ICU operations, trauma care and NICU operations. The officials have also promised that emergency care will remain available, the BBC report further said.

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