BARNSLEY Hospital bosses were forced to cancel more than 180 appointments during the latest junior doctors’ strike, new figures have revealed.

The six-day walkout from January 3 to January 9 was the longest strike in NHS history, with the British Medical Association demanding a 35 per cent pay rise.

NHS England figures show the strike resulted in more than 113,000 inpatient and outpatient appointments across England being postponed.

Of these, 183 were at Barnsley Hospital’s Gawber Road site, with Thursday January 4 seeing the highest number of postponed appointments, at 70.

NHS leaders warned the impact caused by the strike could last for months.

NHS England’s national medical director Professor Sir Stephen Powis said: “The longest strike in NHS history has led to unprecedented disruption for patients and their families, and while staff have planned extensively and worked tirelessly to keep patients safe, it comes once again with an enormous cost.”

He added that the figure is likely higher than reported - with frontline staff concerned about rising flue cases and the cold weather causing increased hospitalisations.

“This puts an incredible strain on staff who have been covering striking colleagues as we continue to navigate one of the most difficult times of year,” he added.

“Colleagues across the NHS will now be doing everything they can to make up for lost time as we continue to make progress on addressing the elective backlog and ensure patients get the care they need.”

Louise Ansari, chief executive at Healthwatch England, said patients bear the brunt of industrial action.

“People need to be protected from yet another year of disrupted services and risks to their health,” she said.

“We are urging the government and the BMA to redouble their efforts to reach an agreement.”

The figures also show an average of 61 junior doctors were on strike each day over the six-day period at Barnsley Hospital, with the walkout peaking on Wednesday January 3 at 96.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Despite the significant pressure, the healthcare system has coped well thanks to the hard work of consultants, nurses and other healthcare staff who worked during industrial action.

“The strikes may have ended, but their repercussions will be felt for weeks and months to come.

“We want to put an end to damaging strikes once and for all, and if the BMA junior doctors’ committee can demonstrate they have reasonable expectations, we will still sit down with them.”

A Barnsley Hospital spokesperson added: “During strike action we prioritise emergency treatment and patients seeking urgent treatment will be seen.

“Unfortunately, this means some routine appointments and procedures may need to be postponed. The NHS contacts those people if their appointment needs to be changed.

“While NHS England regularly publishes data showing impact of the strikes on appointments and staff numbers, these numbers will not fully reflect the tireless effort that has gone into the planning for these strikes, and the staff time that has gone into arranging and providing cover during this period.

“The focus has remained, as always, on maintaining safe services for patients.

“People should continue to come forward for the care they need. If they need medical help, people should continue to use NHS 111, and in emergencies, 999.”