MORE than a million hospital appointments have been cancelled by strikes this year, official figures reveal.
NHS bosses slammed the “relentless impact” of walkout misery that has dragged on for 10 months with no end in sight.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay called the figure a “grim milestone”.
Brazen medics in the British Medical Association will strike again in just a week’s time, with both junior doctors and consultants out together on October 2, 3 and 4.
Another 129,913 appointments and operations were postponed due to last week’s strikes, taking the total to 1,015,067, NHS England said.
Medical director Dr Vin Diwakar said: “These figures reveal just part of the relentless impact of strikes over the last 10 months.
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“Each appointment rescheduled is incredibly difficult for patients and families.
“There is precious little time to recover as we prepare for further joint action next week.”
A record 7.7million people are now languishing on waiting lists for treatment in England.
Ministers say doctors’ strikes have derailed plans to cut the backlog, which stood at 6.8m a year ago.
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Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: “This marks the grim milestone of over one million appointments cancelled as a result of strikes.
“Coordinated and calculated industrial action by the BMA is creating further disruption and misery for patients and NHS colleagues.
“Regrettably, the BMA is threatening to escalate strike action again next month, which would mean the number of cancellations rising further and adding to the pressures on health services as we head into winter.
“Doctors have received a fair and reasonable pay rise and this pay award is final so I urge unions to end this damaging disruption.”
Saffron Cordery, of NHS Providers, added: “We can’t go on like this. It’s an uphill battle.
“Winter, if it’s anything like last year, will be really tough.
“Leaders and staff need time to plan and prepare, while working flat out to cut record-high waiting lists, instead of dealing with the unwanted distraction of yet more strikes.”
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