MORE than 170 Hampshire Hospitals employees were off work at one point during the longest strike in the NHS's history earlier this month, new figures reveal. 

Junior doctors and hospital dental trainees up and down the country began their strike action at 7am on Wednesday, January 3 until 7am on Tuesday, January 9.

This latest period of strike action was the longest continuous period of junior doctor industrial action to date.

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At Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, a number of junior doctors and hospital dental trainees joined in the industrial action, with 169 staff absent on Wednesday, January 3 - the first day of the strike.

Basingstoke Gazette: Basingstoke and North Hampshire HospitalBasingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital (Image: Mark Paine)This number was followed by 158 absentees on the second day of strike, and 153, 57, 59 and 171 absentees from Friday, January 5 to Monday, January 8, respectively. 

No members of staff from the trust were absent as a result of strike action on Tuesday, January 9, which was the last day of the strike.

A spokesperson for Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We know the decision by BMA members to take industrial action is, for many, a difficult one; however, teams across Hampshire Hospitals worked extremely hard to ensure we could continue providing patient care at a time when our services are facing considerable demand. 

“Unfortunately, it was necessary to cancel a number of planned appointments in order to protect emergency and urgent care. We appreciate the public’s patience while our staff work hard to reschedule these appointments as quickly as possible.”   

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Medical director for NHS England in the South East, Vaughan Lewis, said: “NHS England recognises the extraordinary dedication and hard work of staff who have planned extensively and worked tirelessly to ensure patient safety is maintained during this latest period of strike action - the longest in NHS history, resulting in significant disruption for patients and their families.

“The action has again come at an enormous cost which is clear from the figures released – likely to be even higher in reality - with more than 14,500 appointments postponed at a time when our services are already under huge pressure due to winter viruses cold weather, and the ongoing efforts of the NHS to recover from the backlogs of care that built up during the covid pandemic.

“I would like to thank everyone for their continued support in what remains a very challenging time for the NHS.”