West News Wire: A National Health Service official warned on Saturday that a four-day strike by tens of thousands of doctors in England the following week may force the cancellation of a quarter million appointments. 

The impact is anticipated to be much bigger than a three-day protest by young physicians last month that resulted in 175,000 appointments and treatments being postponed, according to Dr. Layla McCay, policy director at the NHS Confederation. 

Every health care leader should be really concerned about this one because of the impact it would have on patient safety, McCay said on BBC Radio 4. 

The so-called junior physicians’ strike, scheduled for Tuesday, would be the most recent in a string of disruptive labor activities by public sector workers demanding pay hikes to offset inflation that exceeds 10%. A cost-of-living crisis driven by sharp food and energy price increases has left people struggling to pay bills as union wages have fallen in real terms over the past decade. 

Last week, passport office workers began a five-week strike and security officers at Heathrow Airport walked off the job for 10 days. Strikes by train and bus drivers, postal workers, ambulance drivers and nurses have created havoc for Britons. 

Teachers who recently rejected a pay raise as unacceptable plan to stage strikes April 27 and May 2, further inconveniencing parents and pupils. 

The British Medical Association said junior doctors have lost more than 26% in pay in real terms over the past 15 years. The union said the strikes could be avoided if the government makes a reasonable offer. 

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 The Department of Health and Social Care has insisted that strikes be called off before negotiations can take place. 


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