Healthcare workers from 55 NHS trusts in England are on strike for two days in a bitter pay dispute, while thousands of patients have their operations cancelled.
After the previous nurses’ strike in December, nearly 30,000 operations and appointments had to be rescheduled.
According to NHS data, 4,567 operations and 25,009 outpatient appointments were cancelled between December 15 and December 20 of last year.
In total, 7.2 million people in England are on waiting lists for operations, including 400,000 who have already been waiting a year.
Nurses will be on strike for 13 hours on Wednesday and Thursday, from 7.30 a.m. to 8.30 p.m.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has announced two additional, larger strikes for next month, while the GMB union is expected to declare additional ambulance worker strikes.
According to new figures released on Wednesday, government minister Robert Jenrick stated that public sector workers could not receive “significant” pay increases because inflation is only just beginning to ease.
Inflation has dropped to 10.5% from 10.7% last month.