Non-urgent ops cancelled1st December 2011
Some 7,000 non-urgent operations were cancelled by hospitals during what was the biggest strike to hit the NHS in two decades.
While thousands of staff walked out as part of protests against public sector pension plans, emergency services did keep running as managers and unions had worked out contingency plans in advance.
In addition to 7,000 out of just over 30,000 non-urgent operations affected, tens of thousands of appointments and tests were also hit across the UK.
In London, a major incident was declared, with ambulance crews only responding to life-threatening calls with the London Ambulance Service reporting it had faced “severe pressure” during the stoppage on Wednesday, although services were back to normal on Thursday.
While it remains unclear how many staff took part in the strike, unions claims 400,000 workers were involved although the government has suggested it was not that many.
Some nurses, healthcare assistants, admin staff, porters and cleaners, radiographers, podiatrists and chiropodists were on strike as Unison and Unite union members took action but the British Medical Association, Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Midwives did not take part.
Dean Royles, director of NHS Employers, said the NHS had coped well and added: “We should not lose sight of the fact that people have had their treatment delayed because of this strike. The delays will be distressing and deeply frustrating for those individuals affected.
“The NHS will work hard to reschedule those appointments as quickly as possible. But some people may find this does not happen immediately.”
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