Industrial action by British Medical Association (BMA) consultants and British Dental Association (BDA) is taking place from today (July 20) until Saturday (July 22).
Senior doctors, who are responsible for supervising junior doctors and other staff as well as seeing patients, are taking action on the heels of strikes by junior doctors.
Among those on the picket line are consultants demonstrating outside QEQM Hospital in Margate today.
Without supervision it may not be possible for some care delivered by junior doctors or other staff to take place safely.
Consultants have committed however to provide Christmas Day cover, meaning they will continue to provide all emergency services to ensure patients remain safe.
GP practices will continue to be open during the consultants strikes.
The Society of Radiographers has also announced that it will be holding 48 hours of strikes, from 8am on Tuesday 25 July to 8am on Thursday 27 July.
The industrial action is being taken in a dispute over pay.
The BMA said: “The Government’s derisory pay uplift of just under 6% is an insult to consultants.
“Our aim in taking industrial action is to fix consultant pay now and for retirement
“This should begin with an agreement to provide an above inflationary pay award for 2023-24.
“We have provided every opportunity to avert industrial action. It has become apparent that, so far, (the government) is unwilling to take the steps necessary to resolve this dispute.”
The BMA says the pay of consultants in England flatlined at just 14% growth in the 14 years to 2022/23.
The association adds: “In stark contrast, the average pay for the UK went up by around 48% in the same period and those in the professions such as such as law, accountancy, financial services, architects and engineering, enjoyed growth of nearly 80% in wages – almost six times that of senior doctors.”
Use 111 online as the first port of call for health needs and only use 999 if it is a life-threatening emergency. Mental health crisis services can be accessed through normal routes.
The NHS will only reschedule appointments and procedures, where necessary, and will immediately re-book, where possible. Patients impacted by the strike action will be directly contacted. If you are not contacted, your appointment will take place as planned.