Thousands of NHS consultants in England went on strike on Tuesday and Wednesday in a dispute over pay, joining junior doctors in the first joint strike in the history of the NHS.
Junior doctors, who have held 19 days of strike action since March, will continue their strike on Thursday and Friday this week.
Both consultant and junior doctor members of the British Medical Association (BMA) will again join forces for strikes on Oct. 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
Thousands of operations and appointments have been cancelled as a result of the strikes, with NHS leaders warning that some patients are seeing their appointments rescheduled three times.
A Christmas Day-style service will be provided on the joint strike action days, prioritizing emergency care.
The strikes come as the government outlines plans to extend strike laws to ensure hospital doctors and nurses provide a minimum level of cover.
The new regulations, which were open to consultation, would mean doctors and nurses have to provide a certain level of cover after being issued a work notice by employers on what is needed to maintain “necessary and safe levels of service.”
Consultations on minimum service levels have already run for ambulance staff, fire and rescue services and passenger rail workers, after the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act became law.
The government says the new laws are necessary to protect the public and maintain essential services during strikes. However, unions have warned that the laws will undermine their right to strike.
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