THOUSANDS of appointments and operations were cancelled by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust because of NHS strike action over the last year, new figures show.

It comes as the number of inpatient and outpatient appointments and operations cancelled due to strikes across England surpassed one million following the first coordinated strike by junior doctors and consultants in history earlier this month.

The British Medical Association said it did not want to cause further disruption to patients' care, but the strikes "are about the long-term sustainability of the NHS and ensuring there are trained doctors around to care for all patients in the future".

NHS England figures show Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has cancelled 265 appointments or operations scheduled between September 19 and 23 as a result of strike action by NHS staff.

The total number of treatments cancelled grew to 2,946 over the last year.

Another joint strike by consultants and junior doctors is planned for October 2, 3 and 4.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: "Regrettably, the BMA is threatening to escalate strike action which would mean the number of cancellations rising further and adding to the pressures on health services as we head into winter.

"Those who started their hospital training this year are receiving a 10.3 per cent pay increase, with the average junior doctor getting 8.8 per cent and consultants are receiving a 6 per cent pay rise alongside generous reforms to their pensions, which was the BMA’s number one ask."

Professor Phil Banfield, council chairman of the BMA, said: “We don’t want to be on strike, we don’t want to have to protest at party conferences, but we do want doctors to be recognised as the highly skilled practitioners of medicine that they are. We want to be serving our patients. But without the staffing levels, pay and conditions that lead to doctor retention, the cost and consequences of waiting lists will continue to get worse and worse; we feel that we have no choice but to take this action, because this Government has ignored doctors and patients for so long.  

“We need a demonstrable drastic change in attitude from Government – no more excuses, no more reckless ultimatums, and no more empty words. If Mr Sunak and Mr Barclay simply come outside and meet us with a credible offer, we can start finding a solution that ends these strikes right there and then.”