UP to 70,000 appointments were cancelled in yesterday’s nurses’ strike, ministers have claimed.
Cancer, heart and surgery patients must now wait six weeks for a new date.
Health Minister Maria Caulfield said: “Cancer surgeries are going to be closed in 44 trusts in England. We reckon it’s about 70,000 appointments, procedures, surgeries that will be lost.”
England’s Chief Nursing Officer Dame Ruth May made a surprise appearance at London’s St Thomas’ Hospital to call for an “urgent resolution”.
She backed all nurses but No10 said: “She doesn’t work for the government. She has her own views.”
The Royal College of Nursing said its first strike was a “tragic day”.
Bosses warned that worse was on the way, with a second on Tuesday and more to come unless staff get a pay bump.
More than 12,000 planned ops such as hip and knee replacements were at risk while chemo, non-urgent heart surgery, scans and check-ups were put off.
NHS worker Roni Mounter, whose husband Neil had his cancer treatment postponed in Birmingham, said: “I have every sympathy with the nurses but there are certain treatments I don’t think should be delayed any longer.”
Prof Tim Orchard, chief of Imperial College hospitals in London, said much of its planned care was hit.
Patients should get a new appointment for the end of January.
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