According to the Department of Health, one in ten patients have been disrupted due to the British Medical Association’s (BMA) industrial action. The disruptions included missed operations, outpatient appointments and treatments that will need to be rescheduled in the near future. As a result of the action, around 25% of surgeries in the UK operated under reduced services due to doctors’ action yesterday. The action yesterday marked the first day of this level of protest in 37 years and was caused by the controversial pension reforms proposed by the Government.
In London alone the action resulted in around 490 operations and 3,200 outpatient appointments alone; however the level of action varied across the UK with some not bothering to reschedule treatments that had been previously arranged for the day.
Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, stated that in the run up to the BMA action, their main focus was to make sure that the action would cause the least amount of disruption to patients as possible; the issue between the Government and doctors should not be passed onto the patients. He was pleased with the overall level of services and cooperation of doctors throughout the day. Of course the strike action affected thousands of patients across the UK, some expecting an operation yesterday, others missing important appointments. He believes the BMA should provide further help in making sure all those missed operations and appointments are rescheduled as quickly as possible.
The last time strike action took place in 1975 as a result of a contractual dispute, where consultants ceased goodwill activities and junior doctors worked to a 40 hour work week as a result of dissatisfaction with the progress of contract negotiations. It is believed what with all the recent negative press the NHS have been receiving lately that more people are likely to consider private health insurance options; yesterday’s strikes are probably more than likely another reason for people to consider the move. If you are tempted to make the move yourself, provider of health insurance,Health-on-Line offer cover comparison on their site with the options to customise your cover.