British physician strike leads to 4,000 cancelled surgeries

Tens of thousands of British medical residents Tuesday went on strike in the first physician strike in the country in four decades, according to The New York Times.

Roughly 4,000 nonurgent operations were cancelled as a result of the strike, and it potentially could create "real difficulties for patients, and potentially worse," Prime Minister David Cameron said, according to the report.

The junior physicians, as they are called, which includes physicians in graduate medical education, are striking over a pay and working condition dispute. The National Health Service, England's public health system, wants to increase the physicians' pay, but reduce the number of hours physicians are able to receive overtime pay for on the weekends, according to the report. The move is meant to create a true seven-day healthcare service, which would improve weekend treatment, according to the report.

However, the residents feel it adds strain to excessive work schedules and poses a patient safety risk.

Contract discussions have been underway for years, according to the report. Residents previously planned to strike in December, but postponed it in the hopes of negotiating with NHS. Failed progress reinstated the strike in early January.

NHS said the thousands of procedures cancelled will be rescheduled, and now patients will have an even longer wait for treatment, according to the report.

 

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