NHS Providers boss warns of health service ‘looking into abyss’ if consultants strike

The Guardian reports that Sir Julian Hartley, the leader of England’s hospital bosses, has said that the NHS will be “looking into the abyss” if hospital consultants follow the example of junior doctors and go on strike over pay.

Hospitals will be left unable to function normally if consultants – the most senior doctors on wards – stage walkouts in pursuit of their pay claim, Sir Julian Hartley said.

“If consultants withdraw their labour, as junior doctors are doing again this week, that would be unthinkable without considerable derogations,” said the chief executive of NHS Providers. “It would be incredibly difficult to run a hospital and other critical services.”

Hospitals have already had to postpone more than 500,000 outpatient appointments and operations as a result of the recent industrial unrest by nurses, junior doctors, ambulance workers and other staff. With junior doctors threatening to continue striking until next March, NHS chiefs are alarmed that consultants will add to the chaos engulfing the service by taking action too.

Full story in The Guardian, 17 June 2023