More than 113,700 inpatient and outpatient appointments due to be held during the junior doctor strikes have been rescheduled, NHS data has shown.
As many as 25,446 staff were absent from work due to strikes at the peak of the industrial action on 3 January. The full strike action lasted from 3 January to 9 January.
Since strikes began, the cumulative total of acute inpatient and outpatient appointments rescheduled is now 1,333,221.
NHS national medical director Professor Sir Stephen Powis said the cost of the strikes is ‘clear in these figures’ and suggested they are ‘likely to be even higher in reality’.
He said: ‘Medical leaders and frontline staff are telling us they are very concerned about the coming weeks as the cold weather bites and more people may need hospitalisation. This puts an incredible strain on staff who have been covering striking colleagues as we continue to navigate one of the most difficult times of year.
‘Colleagues across the NHS will now be doing everything they can to make up for lost time as we continue to make progress on addressing the elective backlog and ensure patients get the care they need.’
It comes as a BBC News investigation today (11 January) revealed that most key NHS targets have been missed across the UK for at least seven years.
Its analysis, which focused on three key hospital targets covering A&E, cancer and waiting times for planned care, found that the only one to have been met is the A&E target in Scotland, during lockdown in 2020 when A&E visits plummeted.