How NHS strikes could result in losing eyesight


A mother has described her heartbreaking fear that her daughter could lose her sight after her crucial eye surgery was canceled for a third time due to NHS strikes.

Bonita Archer, from Birmingham, was due to undergo surgery today to treat cataracts in both her eyes and replace the battery of a potentially life-saving anti-epileptic drug in her neck.

But the 53-year-old was told earlier this week that her treatment would be postponed again due to action by trainee doctors, who are staging a three-day strike.

Junior doctors and consultants, who wrapped up their 48-hour strike this morning, have been accused of being ‘contrary to the ethics of medicine’ after taking to the picket lines together in the first of a series of coordinated strikes.

Bonita’s mother, Patsi Whelan Archer, described the situation as ‘appalling’ and called on the government to urgently reach an agreement with medics.

Bonita Archer (pictured) was due to undergo surgery to treat cataracts in both eyes and replace an anti-epileptic drug. But the 53-year-old was told earlier this week that her treatment would be postponed again due to industrial action

Trainee doctors and consultants were also both accused today of being 'contrary to the ethics of medicine' after taking to the picket lines together in the first of a series of coordinated strikes.  However, her mother, Patsi Whelan Archer (pictured), today described the situation as 'appalling' and called on the government to urgently reach an agreement with doctors.

Trainee doctors and consultants were also both accused today of being ‘contrary to the ethics of medicine’ after taking to the picket lines together in the first of a series of coordinated strikes. However, her mother, Patsi Whelan Archer (pictured), today described the situation as ‘appalling’ and called on the government to urgently reach an agreement with doctors.

She said her daughter suffers from epilepsy, type 2 respiratory problems, osteoporosis, scoliosis, Angelman syndrome and learning disabilities.

Ms Archer’s surgery is needed to replace the seizure in her anti-epileptic drug called vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) – a stimulator in the body connected to the left vagus nerve in the neck.

After it was discovered earlier this year that she had cataracts, doctors agreed to schedule a complex combined surgery involving neurological, ophthalmological and respiratory physicians.

Ms Archer’s operation was initially due to take place on July 22 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

However, it was canceled due to the first round of NHS consultant strikes, which took place on July 20 and 21.

Despite being rescheduled for September 14, it was canceled again the day after no intensive care bed was booked, Ms Whelan Archer claimed.

The procedure was then rebooked for the third time to September 21.

But Mrs Whelan Archer received a phone call on Tuesday informing her that the operation would have to be postponed due to the strike action.

She told me BBC: ‘If she doesn’t have this surgery soon, she will lose her eyesight due to the severity of this cataract.

“And if she doesn’t get the battery in the VNS replaced, she will have seizures to the point where it could endanger her life.

“So we’re in a terrible situation and that’s where we are now.”

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust has apologized and said it was rescheduling the procedures.

Mrs Whelan Archer said as she is grateful for the way the NHS has helped her family over the years, she ‘found it hard to understand it all’.

She said: ‘I implore everyone in government to actually listen to the doctors, to sit down with them.’

Consultants this week organized a 48-hour strike that ended at 7am this morning, overlapping with action by trainee doctors who yesterday began a three-day strike that will end at 7am on Saturday.

Further joint strikes by medics are planned for October 2, 3 and 4.

Prior to this week’s strikes, trainee doctors had already been on strike for 19 days this year, with consultants taking to the picket lines on four separate days.

Nowadays there is ‘Christmas Day’ cover in all hospitals, with staffed emergency departments and basic cover on the wards.

Some hospitals have had to halve their normal activity levels on strike days.

But patients have been urged to still attend appointments if they have not been told the appointment has been canceled – as some doctors are still working.

The British Medical Association (BMA), which is coordinating the strikes, says doctors have seen their wages fall by 35 percent over the past 15 years.  Pictured: Consultants and trainee doctors strike outside the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle on September 20

The British Medical Association (BMA), which is coordinating the strikes, says doctors have seen their wages fall by 35 percent over the past 15 years. Pictured: Consultants and trainee doctors strike outside the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle on September 20

Consultants in England have joined the picket lines on four separate days so far this summer, while junior doctors have staged 19 days of strike action this year.  Both will return to the picket lines together on October 2, 3 and 4.  Radiographers will also join medics in walking out for 24 hours from 8am on October 3.  The strike days also coincide with Rishi Sunak's first Tory party conference as leader.  and Prime Minister

Consultants in England have joined the picket lines on four separate days so far this summer, while junior doctors have staged 19 days of strike action this year. Both will return to the picket lines together on October 2, 3 and 4. Radiographers will also join medics in walking out for 24 hours from 8am on October 3. The strike days also coincide with Rishi Sunak’s first Tory party conference as leader. and Prime Minister

1695288008 576 Mother fears NHS strikes could mean daughter loses eyesight after

NHS bosses warned this week that the combined strikes by consultants and junior doctors will put patients at ‘the highest level of risk in living memory’, and will affect ‘many more groups of patients who have not been disrupted by previous strikes’.

Many routine hospital appointments and treatments, including cancer care, have been postponed due to industrial action.

Sir Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, today confirmed that almost 900,000 procedures have been disrupted due to industrial action and that this number is ‘certain to rise today and in the coming days’.

The British Medical Association (BMA), which is coordinating the strikes, says their wages have fallen by 35 percent in the past 15 years.

As a result, junior doctors have called for a 35 percent pay increase, while consultants have set their pay demands at 11 percent.

In July, consultants and trainee doctors received a six percent pay increase under No10’s pay offer.

At the time, Rishi Sunak said the deal, announced in July for the 2023/2024 period, was the government’s “final offer”.

Nurses, paramedics and other NHS staff received a five per cent increase and an ‘NHS backlog bonus’.

However, the BMA immediately rejected the increase and vowed to continue strike action.

In a letter sent to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Steve Barclay on Sunday, Dr. Vishal Sharma, chairman of the BMA consultants committee: ‘It is essential that we can reach an agreement.

‘Not just to end the current dispute and prevent further strike action as we head into winter, but to ensure that the NHS can recruit and retain the highly experienced staff it needs.’

Yesterday the BMA also announced that specialists, associate specialists and specialist (SAS) doctors will hold an indicative vote for industrial action.

These doctors work alongside doctors in training and consultants in hospitals, but some also work in the community.