NEWS… BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT
Nurses up and down the UK are striking for the second time in the 74-year history of the NHS.
Countless healthcare workers are walking out across dozens of trusts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland over longstanding issues over pay.
Hard-working Royal College of Nurses (RCN) union members have set a Friday deadline for ministers to reopen talks or face further job action in January.
RCN members have two simple demands: a pay rise of above 19% to help them cope amid the spiralling cost-of-living crisis and better working conditions.
The government has long called this ‘unaffordable’ and pointed to an independent pay panel this year recommending a 4.5% pay rise.
But this just won’t cut it, union leaders say, who see the strikes are a final resort by nurses who feel the NHS has been battered by years of government cuts.
RCN general secretary Pat Cullen demanded Tory ministers to ‘get this wrapped up by Christmas’.
She said in a statement to Metro.co.uk: ‘The prime minister should ask himself what is motivating nursing staff to stand outside their hospitals for a second day so close to Christmas.
‘They are prepared to sacrifice a day’s pay to have their concerns heard. Their determination stems as much from worries over patient safety and the future of the NHS than personal hardship.’
‘Let’s get this wrapped up by Christmas,’ she added. ‘I will negotiate with him at any point to stop nursing staff and patients going into the new year facing such uncertainty.
‘But if this government isn’t prepared to do the right thing, we’ll have no choice but to continue in January and that will be deeply regrettable.’
Even after the health sector stepped up during the Covid-19 pandemic, the earnings of an experienced nurse have barely budged.
How much a nurse takes home has plummeted in real terms by at least 20% since 2010 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the RCN found.
Today’s strikes will impact people in a number of ways like they did last week, with about a quarter of health services affected.
The RCN has stressed that nurses will still staff vital NHS services such as intensive care units and chemotherapy, dialysis and pediatric services.
Though as it was on December 15, planned care such as non-emergency operations and outpatient appointments will face disruptions.
At least 19,000 patients had surgeries and appointments postponed in England and Northern Ireland last week, NHS trusts said.
In England alone, nearly 10,000 staff did not clock in for shifts.
But not every NHS trust is walking out today – this is because each trust is its own workplace, meaning each had to vote to strike.
To ensure hospital doors remain open, some trusts only joined the picket lines on December 15 while others will only take part today.
Nurses aren’t alone in striking. A number of other critical sectors, including rail staff, postal workers and ambulance drivers, are picketing this month.
All say they are struggling to stay afloat as sky-high inflation, rising interest rates and a recession put pressure on their bank accounts and mental health.
Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire ICB
Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust
Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust
NHS Hertfordshire and West Essex ICB
Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust
Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
NHS North Central London ICB
Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Found Trust
Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust
Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Found Trust
The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust
Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
Devon Partnership NHS Trust
Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire ICB (BSW Together)
NHS Devon ICB (One Devon)
NHS Gloucestershire ICB (One Gloucestershire)
North Bristol NHS Trust
Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust
Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust
NHS Birmingham and Solihull ICB (BSol ICB)
The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust
The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Health Education England
Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council
Business Services Organisation
Regulation & Quality Improvement Authority
Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service
Public Health Agency
Northern Ireland Ambulance Service
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
Powys Teaching Local Health Board
Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust Headquarters
Hywel Dda University Health Board
Swansea Bay University Health Board
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board
Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board
Velindre NHS Trust
Public Health Wales
Health Education and Improvement Wales Health Authority
NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership
Digital Health and Care Wales
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