Devastating junior doctors’ strikes ‘cost taxpayer close to £7MILLION a day’ with hospitals forced to draft in consultants on up to £260/hour
Devastating junior doctor strikes are costing taxpayers millions every day, figures suggest.
Cash-strapped NHS hospitals are having to draft in higher-paid consultants to plug gaps in rotas. Some charge up to £262-an-hour.
One Tory MP branded the costs ‘unacceptable’.
But the British Medical Association argued it would be cheaper if the Government paid doctors ‘what they are worth’.
The militant union – which organised a three-day strike last week – is demanding an inflation-busting 35 per cent pay rise.
Cash-strapped NHS hospitals are having to draft in higher-paid consultants to plug gaps in rotas. Some charge up to £262-an-hour. Pictured, medics strike outside the Bristol Royal Infirmary on June 14
Tens of thousands of operations and appointments have been cancelled because of NHS strikes this year.
Fifty-four hospital trusts paid £32.5million between them to cover shifts during two previous BMA junior doctor walk-outs, the probe found.
Data was not available for the other 70-odd organisations, according to The Sun.
The newspaper’s investigation claimed that the ‘true cost across England’ could sit in the region of £50million.
This would amount to £7million a day, it claimed.
Tory MP Paul Bristow, a member of the Commons health committee, said the costs were ‘unacceptable’.
He added: ‘The idea junior doctors can shrug their shoulders at money like this being wasted beggars belief.’
More than half a million NHS appointments in England have been cancelled due to health service strikes since December, official figures show
The BMA said: ‘This data shows it would be far more cost-effective for the Government to pay doctors what they are worth.’
Junior doctors are paid between £30,000 and £58,000 a year, depending on their experience.
Consultants can earn up to £120,000 a year.
Under guidance issued by the BMA for strike days, they are recommended to charge hospitals £158-an-hour to cover shifts on weekdays.
This rises to £262-an-hour if they are asked to work overnight at the weekend.