Strikes cost Harrogate hospital £1.5m this year
Last updated Nov 17, 2023
Junior doctors on strike on Wetherby Road in Harrogate in March.
Junior doctors on strike on Wetherby Road in Harrogate in March.

Industrial action has cost the trust which runs Harrogate District Hospital £1.5 million in 2023.

The hospital has been hit by numerous strikes in the last 12 months, with consultants and junior doctors staging walkouts in disputes over pay.

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust said the figure was an “unavoidable cost” as a result of the strikes.

The move comes as NHS England has told hospital trusts to reduce targets for routine care in order to pay for the industrial action.

National health officials have estimated that the 40 days worth of strike action has cost NHS trusts £1 billion.

In a letter signed by Julian Kelly, the chief financial officer for NHS England, and Steve Powis, the national medical director for NHS England, local trusts were told that elective surgery targets would be scaled back.

It said:

“For the remainder of the financial year our agreed priorities are to achieve financial balance, protect patient safety and prioritise emergency performance and capacity, while protecting urgent care, high priority elective and cancer care.”

Currently, Harrogate hospital has 822 people waiting more than 65 weeks for surgery. No patients are waiting longer than 78 weeks.

However, a spokesperson for Harrogate and District NHS Trust, told the Stray Ferret that it does not expect NHS England’s target adjustment to affect its plans to tackle waiting lists.

They said:

“NHS England’s decision to reduce the elective activity target for 2023/24 is not expected to have a significant impact at HDFT.

“At the start of 2023, we had 2,918 patients awaiting surgical treatment who would have waited 65 weeks or longer by the end of March 2024. This number had reduced to 822 patients by November 2023 and we are currently on track to ensure no patient will be waiting beyond 65 weeks by the end of March 2024.

“We will continue to focus on cancer pathways to ensure we are able to get to a diagnosis within 28 days from referral and provide treatment within 62 days.

“HDFT is committed to providing the best possible healthcare for our patients and to ensure they can be seen at the earliest opportunity.”

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