Almost 2,000 appointments at east London hospitals have had to be moved amidst the junior doctors strike, set to be the longest period of industrial action in NHS history.

Junior doctors in Havering and UK-wide today (July 13) began strike action which is scheduled to end next Tuesday (July 18).

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT) on Monday (July 10) said that nearly 1,939 outpatient appointments had to be re-arranged due to strikes organised by the British Medical Association (BMA).

Romford Recorder: Matthew Trainer, BHRUT chief executiveMatthew Trainer, BHRUT chief executive (Image: BHRUT)

Matthew Trainer, BHRUT chief executive, tweeted that the cost of adding nearly 2,000 people to the trust's waiting list was an estimated £1 million.

“Our junior doctors are deeply unhappy with pay,” said Mr Trainer. “They’re our future medical leaders.

“We have no NHS without them,” he added.

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BHRUT said junior doctors are a large part of its medical team and undertake a range of roles, including ordering x-rays, referring patients and reviewing sick patients.

The trust has also had to arrange 61 non-urgent surgeries, it said.

Queen’s Hospital in Romford and King George Hospital in Goodmayes are the hospitals run by BHRUT.

“While our A&Es will remain open during the strike it’s likely they will be under considerable strain which means if you do not need emergency care you will face very long waits,” a trust spokesperson said. 

“We're working hard to ensure we can cover emergency care throughout the strike.”

Rishi Sunak, the prime minister, this afternoon (July 13) challenged union leaders to call off strike action after offering public sector workers pay rises of up to 7pc.

Mr Sunak accepted recommendations from pay review bodies and under these terms junior doctors will receive 6pc rises with an additional consolidated £1,250 increase.

At a Downing Street press conference, Mr Sunak called on the BMA to help “make the NHS strong again” and avoid further disruption following the government's decision.

“We should all ask ourselves, whether union leaders – or indeed political leaders – how can it be right to continue disruptive industrial action?" he said.

“Today’s offer is final," he added. "There will be no more talks on pay."

The BMA has urged the government to negotiate a deal to end the strikes, and claimed Steve Barclay, health secretary, had said there could be no talks while strikes are planned.

“We can call this strike off today if the UK Government will simply follow the example of the government in Scotland and drop their nonsensical precondition of not talking whilst strikes are announced and produce an offer which is credible to the doctors they are speaking with,” said BMA co-chairs Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi earlier today.

Under current circumstances, BHRUT said it will prioritise patients who need urgent care, including people with cancer and those who have been waiting longest.

If your appointment or surgery is rescheduled, the trust said it will contact you directly and to come in as planned unless told otherwise.