Tens of thousands of doctors on Tuesday downed their tools across England, kicking off a four-day strike which could be the most disruptive in the history of the UK.’s public health service.
The walkout by junior doctors, who form the backbone of hospital and clinic care in the National Health Service, is due to last until Saturday.
Junior doctors, those in the first years of their careers make up almost half of all NHS doctors. Health service bosses say as many as 350,000 scheduled operations and appointments will be canceled during the walkout.
While senior doctors and other medics have had to be drafted in to cover for emergency services, critical care and maternity services.
Stephen Powis, medical director of NHS England, said the walkout “is going to be the most disruptive period of strike action that we’ve seen this winter, probably the most disruptive period of action in NHS history.”
A wave of strikes has disrupted Britain for months, as workers demand pay raises to keep pace with soaring inflation, which stood at 10.4% in February.
Nurses, ambulance crews, teachers, border staff, driving examiners, bus drivers and postal workers have all downed tools to demand higher pay.
Unions in the country say, wages especially in the public sector, have fallen in real terms over the past decade, with the cost-of-living crisis fueled by sharply rising food and energy prices has left many public workers struggling to pay their bills.
Writing by Tersoo Nicholas