The NHS are bracing themselves for “extensive disruption” as tens of thousands of junior doctors are on strike for three days across the UK.
More than 100,000 appointments have been postponed already over the past few months as there is no sign the continued strike action will be resolved.
The British Medical Association (BMA) said that junior medics would earn more per hour if they went to work at Pret A Manger and are demanding a proper pay rise.
The BMA have said that in real pay terms junior doctors have seen a fall of 26% since 2008 and 2009 and reversing this will require a 35.3% pay rise.
Professor Stephen Powis, medical director of NHS England, told Times Radio, “This is likely to be the most disruptive set of industrial action days that we’ve seen all winter.
“Why is that? Well, it’s three days rather than just one day, it involves junior doctors that are a large part of the medical workforce and, of course, work in many healthcare settings, not just hospitals – general practice, mental health trusts and, of course, community settings too – and so it’s likely that we will see that extensive disruption.
“We’ve been focusing on ensuring that emergency care, A&E departments, critical care, maternity services are maintained, but that’s going to come, unfortunately, at the expense of other services, such as routine appointments and some surgery.”
Earlier, the NHS chief warned whilst speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the three day strikes are “likely to be the most severe of all those (strike) days this winter, perhaps even the most severe disruption that we’ve seen of any strike in the NHS during its history.”