Jeremy Hunt has warned that the junior doctors’ strike is the “worst possible thing” for the NHS and that patients could be harmed.
But medics have pointed out that far from being out-of-the-ordinary, the strike’s impact on patients will be similar to that of the Royal Wedding – when the Government granted an extra bank holiday.
Dr Ellie Cannon, a physician who writes a column for the Mail on Sunday newspaper, compared the two days in 2011 and 2016.
This: 2011: Royal Wedding: National Bank Holiday. NHS emergency care only. 2016: #JuniorDoctorsStrike - same NHS emergency care provided !— Dr Ellie (@Dr_Ellie) January 12, 2016
Twitter users shared the observation.
David Cameron announced the extra April 29 2011 bank holiday in late 2010 – leading to the placement of four bank holidays in the space of 11 days.
During the bank holiday, as is usual on such days, NHS hospital care was emergency-only.
In addition, on the Royal Wedding Day many GP hospitals were closed - as GPs are private contractors and can choose to take bank holidays off. GPs are mostly unaffected by junior doctor strike action, however.
The Government says this time of year is particularly busy for hospitals, however.
The level of service is also the same as on New Year’s Day.
The British Medical Association has planned three days of strikes as part of its dispute about the Government’s new contract.
The first two plan to leave emergency care in place, while a third would see a full withdrawal of labour, including from emergency care.
Polling by Ipsos MORI/Newsnight found that both levels of strike action have net public support, though the strike that left emergency care in place was significantly more popular.Reuse content