As consultants and junior doctors begin the biggest industrial action in the history of the NHS, local trust’s CEO says it could take nine months to catch-up with the Croydon hospital’s back-log of treatments
Every strike costs Croydon’s Mayday Hospital about £1million, to pay for additional cover for junior doctors and in the income lost through patient care having to be postponed.
That’s according to Croydon Health Services NHS Trust chief executive, Matthew Kershaw, who revealed the figures at the Trust’s AGM last night, just hours before the biggest staff walkout ever seen in the history of the NHS.
Consultants have gone on strike today. From tomorrow, junior doctors will join them, providing for a time over the course of the next week what the NHS calls “Christmas Day levels of staffing”, meaning only emergency care will be provided.
This is the first time junior doctors and consultants have taken industrial action at the same time, with thousands of appointments likely to be rescheduled as a result. Industrial action by junior doctors in July saw nearly 30,000 planned appointments across London cancelled or postponed, with more than 3,000 staff on strike each day.
According to Kershaw last night, more than 7,200 appointments or procedures have been postponed at Mayday hospital since the start of NHS industrial action. This has doubled the number of the Croydon University Hospital’s patients waiting more than a year for treatment to 336.
Kershaw told the meeting that he was not trying to make a point in revealing the damaging figures, and that he defends the right of NHS colleagues to withdraw their labour. He said there was an urgent need for the parties to come together to resolve the conflict.
The annual meeting was attended by Conservative and Green councillors. Not a single one of Labour’s 34 Croydon councillors managed to squeeze the event into their no-doubt hectic schedule of leafleting, self-promotion and posting selfies to social media.
Three Newman Numpties from Croydon Labour were too busy to attend the Croydon NHS meeting, as they were at a curry awards being staged in… Edinburgh.
Margaret Bird, a Conservative councillor for Old Coulsdon, did manage to attend the Croydon NHS meeting where, predictably, she spoke of the cost of the strikes in continuing suffering, pain or death for waiting patients.
Bird asked whether strikers were making up lost pay in catch-up overtime. Kershaw said that it did not work like that. Some extra days were being worked, he said.
Asked by Bird how long it would take to catch up with the delayed cases, Kershaw said that if the strikes ended that evening, it would take seven to nine months to make up for the lost time.
The NHS in London is keen to stress that emergency care continues to be prioritised during the strikes and people should still call 999 in life-threatening emergencies and contact NHS 111 for other health concerns.
GPs and pharmacies also continue to be open and able to offer care and advice.
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