STRIKE action taken by medics at Barnsley Hospital has cost an estimated £3m to cover, the Chronicle can reveal.

Both senior and junior doctors - as well as nurses on one occasion - have taken industrial action at the Gawber Road site as they sought a better pay offer from the government.

A report, which has been seen by the Chronicle, shows that over the latest ten-month period strike action has cost the hospital’s trust an additional £3m.

This has negatively impacted its overall financial position, with a £5.2m deficit anticipated for the year-end forecast.

Agency staff - who have been drafted in to cover for those on strike - have also rocketed in cost, while the financial impact of missed appointments has also contributed to the figure.

During January’s strike, 183 appointments were postponed at the hospital, while figures also show an average of 61 junior doctors were on strike each day over the six-day period, with the walk-out peaking on January 3 at 96.

A Barnsley Hospital report said: “Following further strike action in the month, total strike cover costs have increased to circa £3m in the year-to-date.

“The year-end forecast has been revised to a £5.2m deficit.”

There have been junior doctor strikes in ten out of 12 months since the first action last year - and they recently voted to extend their strike mandate while September, meaning more protests are in the pipeline.

A ballot saw 98 per cent say they would take part in a further six months of strike action and, for the first time in this dispute, junior doctors were also asked whether they would be prepared to take part in industrial action short of striking, to which 97 per cent said yes.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said the situation was ‘extremely sad’ but that it had been left with no choice to plan further action, as doctors’ pay had dropped by ‘almost a third’ in 15 years.

There have been no formal talks since negotiations ended in December, and the BMA is boycotting the pay review process by refusing to provide evidence to the independent pay review body which makes recommendations on payrises.

Co-chairs Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi said:/ / / “It has now been a year since we began strike action.

“That is a year of too many strikes - the government believed it could ignore, delay, and offer excuses long enough that we would simply give up.

“We ask the Health Secretary to come forward as soon as possible with a new offer - and make sure not a single further strike day need be called.”