Thousands of appointments were postponed across the region due to the junior doctors’ strike earlier this month, new figures show.

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. The Government called this "not affordable".

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

Of these, 3,322 were at NHS trusts in the North East, with the first day of strike action causing the most disruption with more than 900 appointments postponed.

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."

The Northern Echo: More than 900 junior doctors walked out on the first day of strike action across the region, with a similar number of appointments being cancelled.More than 900 junior doctors walked out on the first day of strike action across the region, with a similar number of appointments being cancelled. (Image: NNP)

Sir Stephen said the figure is likely higher than the 113,000 recorded, with medical leaders and frontline staff concerned about rising flu 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 the 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."

Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive of NHS Providers, urged the Government and unions to "sit down and talk to find a way to stop this dispute dragging on".

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. We are urging the Government and the BMA to redouble their efforts to reach an agreement," she added.

The figures also show an average of 641 junior doctors were on strike each day over the six-day period across the region, with the walkout peaking on Wednesday January 3 at 919 absent.

The County Durham and Darlington Trust did not provide data on how many staff were absent each day.

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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."