National & International

Before Christmas, nurses will strike for two days

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According to the BBC.

In what is set to be England’s, Wales’s, and Northern Ireland’s largest walkout in NHS history, nurses will strike next month for two days.

As part of its pay dispute with the government, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced strikes on 15 and 20 December.

While nurses will continue to provide emergency care, routine services will be affected.

The RCN said it had been given no choice after ministers would not reopen talks, but the government said the 19% pay rise demanded was unaffordable.

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said: “Ministers have chosen strike action.

“Nursing staff have had enough of being taken for granted, enough of low pay and unsafe staffing levels, enough of not being able to give our patients the care they deserve.”

Under trade union laws, the RCN has to ensure life-preserving care is provided during the strikes, which will last from 08:00 to 20:00 GMT.

This is likely to mean some urgent cancer services, urgent tests and scans and ongoing care for vulnerable patients will be protected alongside A&E and intensive care – although it will be up to local health bosses and union leaders to negotiate exact staffing levels on strike days.

But it seems almost certain the walkout will increase the backlog in non-urgent hospital treatment – a record seven million people are already on the waiting list in England.

Louise Ansari, from the Healthwatch England patient watchdog, said she was “concerned” about the impact on this group of patients.


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