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Industrial Serious NHS patient safety incidents up by 20% as government fails to settle industrial disputes

NHS patient safety incidents resulting in severe harm to patients or even death rose by over a fifth after NHS strikes began, new analysis of official figures reveals.

A total of 8,052 such incidents were recorded in England in the six months ending in May, up from 6,700 in the previous six months, the research found.

Yesterday, Keep Our NHS Public co-chairman and retired consultant paediatrician Dr John Puntis told the Morning Star: “Patient safety should be at the forefront of NHS priorities, but this depends on having the right number of well-trained and supported staff in post. 

“Striking workers have repeatedly emphasised that their industrial action is not just about pay but also focused on providing safe care for their patients through proper staffing levels.

“These figures should be an urgent call to government to settle disputes and pay staff fairly in order to improve recruitment and retention.”

The British Medical Association (BMA) has warned that patient safety is being put at risk by the government’s refusal to return to talks and negotiate an end to NHS strikes, which have seen hospital waiting lists top 7.5 million in England.

BMA consultants committee chairman Vishal Sharma, when announcing this week’s two-day walkout by consultants — ending at 7am today — said that Health Secretary Steve Barclay had not met with union representative for 150 days, which, he stressed, showed that “the government is not serious about the NHS, its workforce or patients.”

John Rarrick, head of marketing at mobile communication company Movius.ai, which carried out the analysis, said: "It is concerning that patient safety incidents are on the rise as the NHS faces increasing pressure, in part due to growing waiting lists for treatment.”

The Department for Health and Social Care was contacted for comment.

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