Independent sector faces limited disruption from strike action

Independent sector healthcare providers are expecting minimal disruption to services this week despite the walk-out by junior doctors.

Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) CEO David Hare said the latest round of industrial action by healthcare workers could prove the most challenging to date but that patient safety remained its members’ top priority.

The NHS Confederation has said that as many as 350,000 appointments and procedures could be cancelled this week as a result of the 96-hour stoppage, which began today.

It’s chief executive Matthew Taylor said the strike would cause ‘huge disruption to key frontline services’ so that urgent and emergency care can be prioritised.

Independent sector providers are continuing to monitor the situation but Hare said most treatment taking place in the independent sector would go ahead as planned on the strike days.

‘There is a commitment from providers to avoid disruption to patient care wherever possible, and avoid rescheduling or cancelling wherever possible, but safety and quality of care will not be compromised,’ said Hare.

‘Independent providers will support consultants as they make individual, clinically-led, decisions locally.’

More widely, he said, there were significant concerns that patients awaiting planned care would have their appointments and operations delayed or cancelled.

‘We hope that both the government and the union can find a way to quickly resolve this dispute, given the increasing impact on patients,’ he added.