A mother has described her heartbreaking fear that her daughter could lose her sight after her vital eye surgery was canceled for the third time due to NHS strikes.
Bonita Archer, from Birmingham, was due to have surgery today to treat cataracts in both eyes and replace the battery in a potentially life-saving anti-seizure device in her neck.
But the 53-year-old was told earlier this week that her treatment would be postponed again due to action by junior doctors, who are staging a three-day strike.
Young doctors and consultants, who concluded their 48-hour strike this morning, have been accused of “going against the ethics of medicine” after picketing together in the first of a series of co-ordinated strikes.
Bonita’s mother, Patsi Whelan Archer, described the situation as “horrible” and called on the Government to urgently reach an agreement with the doctors.
Bonita Archer (pictured) was scheduled to undergo surgery to treat cataracts in both eyes and replace an anti-seizure device. But earlier this week the 53-year-old was told her treatment would be postponed again due to a strike.
Young doctors and consultants were also accused today of “going against the ethics of medicine” after picketing together in the first of a series of coordinated strikes. However, her mother, Patsi Whelan Archer (pictured), today described the situation as “horrible” and called on the Government to urgently reach an agreement with the doctors.
He said his daughter suffers from epilepsy, type 2 respiratory failure, osteoporosis, scoliosis, Angelman syndrome and learning difficulties.
Ms Archer’s operation is necessary to change the mass of her anti-seizure device, called vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), a stimulator that is connected, inside the body, to the left vagus nerve in the neck.
After it was discovered he had cataracts earlier this year, doctors agreed to schedule a complex combined operation involving neurological, ophthalmological and respiratory doctors.
Ms Archer’s surgery was initially scheduled for July 22 at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
However, it was canceled due to the first round of NHS consultant strikes, which took place on 20 and 21 July.
Despite being rescheduled for September 14, the operation was again canceled the next day after an intensive care bed was not booked, Whelan Archer said.
The procedure was then rescheduled for the third time for September 21.
But Ms Whelan Archer received a call on Tuesday telling her the surgery had to be postponed because of the strike.
she told him bbc: ‘If you don’t have surgery soon, you will lose your sight due to the severity of these cataracts.
“Also, if the VNS battery is not changed, he will start having seizures to the point where it could be life-threatening.
“So we’re in a terrible situation and that’s where we are.”
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust apologized and said it was working to reschedule the procedures.
Mrs. Whelan Archer said while She is grateful for how the NHS has helped her family over the years; “It was difficult for him to understand everything.”
She said: “I beg everyone in the government to listen to the doctors and sit with them.”
This week, the consultants went on a 48-hour strike that ended at 7am this morning, coinciding with the action of the junior doctors who yesterday began a three-day strike that will end at 7am on Saturday.
More joint strikes by doctors are planned for October 2, 3 and 4.
Before this week’s strikes, junior doctors had already gone on strike 19 days this year, with consultants taking part in picketing on four separate days.
‘Christmas Day’ cover is in place today in all hospitals, with staffed emergency units and a basic level of cover on wards.
Some hospitals have had to halve their normal activity levels on strike days.
But patients have been urged to continue attending appointments if they have not been told they will be cancelled, as some doctors are still working.
The British Medical Association (BMA), which is coordinating the strikes, claims doctors have seen their salaries erode by 35 per cent in the last 15 years. Pictured: Young consultants and doctors on strike outside the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle on September 20.
Consultants in England have picketed on four separate days so far this summer, while junior doctors have gone on strike on 19 days this year. Both will return to the picket lines together on October 2, 3 and 4. Radiologists will also join doctors and go out walking for 24 hours starting at 8am on October 3. The strike days also coincide with Rishi Sunak’s first Conservative party conference as leader. and prime minister
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 patient groups who have not been affected by previous strikes.” “.
Many routine hospital appointments and treatments, including cancer care, have been postponed as a result of the strike.
Sir Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, confirmed today that almost 900,000 procedures have been disrupted due to strikes and the figure will “no doubt rise today and in the coming days”.
The British Medical Association (BMA), which is coordinating the strikes, claims doctors have seen their salaries erode by 35 per cent in the last 15 years.
As a result, junior doctors have asked for a total salary increase of 35 percent, while consultants have set their salary demand at 11 percent.
In July, consultants and junior doctors received a six per cent pay rise under No10’s pay offer.
At the time, Rishi Sunak said the deal, announced in July for 2023/24, was the Government’s “final offer”.
Nurses, paramedics and other NHS staff received a five per cent rise and an “NHS backlog bonus”.
However, the BMA immediately rejected the increase and vowed to continue the strike.
In a letter sent to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Steve Barclay on Sunday, Dr Vishal Sharma, chair of the BMA’s consultative committee, wrote: “It is essential that we can reach an agreement.
“Not only to end the current dispute and avoid further strikes as we head into winter, but also to ensure the NHS can recruit and retain the highly experienced staff it needs.”
The BMA also announced yesterday that specialist doctors, associate specialists and specialists (SAS) will hold an indicative strike vote.
These doctors work alongside junior doctors and consultants in hospitals, but some also work in the community.