Frustration expressed on lack of resolution to current strike action

Dr Tim Cooksley, immediate Past President of the Society for Acute Medicine, has expressed frustration that resolution of the current strike action in the NHS has not been reached. 

“I have tremendous empathy with junior doctors due to the challenging working conditions that permeate throughout NHS currently alongside their significant pay erosion,” he said.

“They have every right to feel aggrieved and it is entirely understandable that they do.

“The grave concern, however, is that there is an increasing sense of tragic inevitability that strikes will become “business as usual” which would be a disaster and an impossible impediment to overcome for NHS recovery.”

In media interviews with the BBC, LBC and Sky News over the weekend he explained the situation in urgent and emergency care services is remarkably similar to last year when calls were made for a national major incident type approach. 

“This is due to overcrowded hospitals with insufficient capacity leading to prolonged waits with degrading corridor care and delays in ambulance responses,” he said.

“The system is totally unable to absorb the added emergency pressures of winter viruses, such as COVID and flu. 

“It is also important to recognise that the junior doctor strike is not the fundamental cause of the current crisis which will persist for several months.”

Dr Cooksley called for investment so that NHS capacity could meet patient demand. 

“Action is needed now in order to reduce the impact over the next few years but a full recovery would take a number of years, potentially a decade. 

“With an election approaching, I am very concerned about political distraction and the serious impact that would have on patient outcomes. It is imperative that is avoided.”