Cancer patient who had surgery cancelled four times still 'supports' striking health workers

  • WATCH: ITV News Meridian's Kerry Swain went to meet Andy Macklin

A cancer patient from Southampton whose operation was cancelled four times because of strikes by healthcare workers, says he still supports the latest strikes, despite the emotional turmoil the delays caused.

On one occasion Andy Macklin was about to go into theatre when the surgery was cancelled.

The operation to treat Andy's kidney cancer at Southampton General Hospital was cancelled twice because nurses were on strike and twice because of staff shortages.

He says that the disruption has caused him a lot of anguish, but he has ''no ill feeling' towards striking doctors and nurses and wants them to be given a pay rise.

It comes as a majority of health unions have accepted the government's latest pay offer, bringing an end to the threat of strikes by most NHS workers this year.

Andy says the delays were very stressful Credit: ITV News Meridian

Andy says that the delays he encountered due to previous strikes compounded the stress of finding out he had cancer.

He says: "It was bad enough having the diagnosis... but when it's drawn out and you can't get your treatment, it plays on your emotions.

You can't even stop yourself from crying. You stand there doing the washing up, you cry.

But despite his own challenging experience, Andy has nothing but good words to say about those who work in the NHS.

"You can't meet a better bunch of people. I think they're fantastic. I've got no ill-feeling towards them.

"They're under stress, they're stretched, low paid. The health service is falling to bits."

Andy's surgery was cancelled four times Credit: ITV News Meridian

Andy eventually had an operation to freeze the cancer after four cancellations, but he's still waiting for the final diagnosis after another appointment was delayed due to the doctors' strike.

He says the lack of closure is playing on his mind.

"(I worry) that I've still got it."

"If they can't get it all, how long have I got?"

Andy's surgery was delayed by a combination of strikes and short staffing at Southampton General Hospital Credit: ITV News Meridian

The revised pay offer to health unions, which includes a lump sum for 2022-23 and 5% for 2023-24, should be implemented, according to a joint statement from members of the NHS Staff Council.

But two major unions are still holding out for a better deal. The Royal College of Nursing says it could stage further walkouts up to Christmas if ministers do not present something better.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: “I’m pleased the NHS Staff Council has voted to accept our pay offer, demonstrating that a majority of NHS staff agree this is a fair and reasonable deal."

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