The largest NHS nurse strike in history occurred in December. Next month, nurses in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland will go on a two-day strike, which is expected to be the longest in the history of the NHS.
In its pay dispute with the government, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced strikes for December 15 and 20.
Emergency care will still be provided by nurses, but routine services will suffer. The RCN claimed it had no choice but to accept the ministers’ refusal to reopen negotiations, but the government claimed the 19% pay increase demanded was out of reach.
The phrase “nursing staff have had enough of being taken for granted, low pay, and unsafe staffing levels” is used by nurses to express their frustration.
In addition to A&E and intensive care, this is likely to mean that some urgent cancer services, tests, and scans, as well as ongoing care for vulnerable patients, will be protected. However, it will be up to local health administrators and union leaders to negotiate exact staffing levels on strike days.
“I’m sorry this is what we have to do.”
Shaun Williams, a hospital nurse, has only been in the profession for a year.
He claimed that while the idea of striking makes him sad, he is still willing to do it.
I’m sorry this is what we have to do. However, we are acting in the best interests of the patients when we take this action.
“Most days, you are using up your reserves. “Unless we pay nurses more we are not going to attract people or keep people,” a nurse once said, “we are not going to have enough staff and because of the lack of nurses, patients are at risk.”
And he claims that if nothing changes, he might even give up nursing.
The exact number of services that will experience walkouts is still unknown for those that allow for strike action. If the industrial action continues, it’s possible that the RCN will stagger the strike so that some services go on strike in December and others do the same in 2019.
The union views it as a way to keep the pressure on the government while minimizing the inconvenience for patients.
The formal notices will be sent out next week, so individual NHS trusts and boards won’t know if there will be walkouts on the two dates until then.
The last thing patients need is a strike.
The RCN had argued during the ballot, the results of which were made public two weeks ago, that this year’s award for below-inflation pay came after years of salary compression for nurses.
The RCN’s demands, according to England’s health secretary Steve Barclay, are unaffordable, and he expressed his “deep regret” that union members would be taking strike action. He emphasized that in making its award, the government had complied with the independent NHS Pay Review Body’s recommendations.
Additionally, despite a public sector pay freeze, it came after a 3% pay increase given last year in recognition of work done during the pandemic.
“The safety of our patients comes first. The NHS has put in place tried-and-true plans to minimize disruption “Added he.
The Welsh government claimed that without additional funding from the UK government, it was unable to start pay negotiations. Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary for Labour, said that negotiations should pick back up, but he would not guarantee the RCN the above-inflation pay increase they were asking for.