ens of thousands of patients will have their care disrupted as nurses and ambulance staff walk out on Monday in what is the start of the biggest round of strikes in NHS history.
Royal College of Nursing members in a third of England’s NHS trusts are joined by the GMB and Unite unions, which represent ambulance workers.
The industrial action has prompted NHS Providers – which represents trusts – to urge the public to use emergency services “wisely” as it warned the whole service was approaching a “crunch point”.
Seven NHS trusts in London are affected on Monday including Great Ormond Street Hopsital for Children.
It’s the start of a series of walkouts by NHS staff in England this week, with further industrial action set for Tuesday, Thursday and Friday involving RCN members and Physios.
NHS Providers chief executive Sir Julian Hartley said the “double whammy” of strikes could see “the worst disruption yet” for the NHS as he urged ministers to sit down with unions to thrash out a settlement.
But Health Secretary Steve Barclay has repeated his call for the unions to call off their action as he insisted the Government could not give in to above-inflation pay claims.
However, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said he was “not telling the truth” as neither he nor Rishi Sunak had been are prepared to discuss pay.
Pictured: Picket line outside Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Unions urged to call off strikes
Conservative minister Maria Caulfield urged the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) to call off strikes and engage with the independent pay process.
The minister for women told Times Radio that Health Secretary Steve Barclay had met with health unions “virtually on a weekly basis during January” and that those meetings were “absolutely to talk about pay”.
She said: “In England, what the unions have done is withdrawn from the independent pay review process, which doesn’t help at all because we want to submit our evidence, put our case about what is affordable and what we are willing to offer but also the unions need to do that too as they did last year.
“And we would ask them to get back into that process because we want this resolved for patients more than anyone.”
‘No movement’ from PM, nursing union says
There has been “no movement” from the Prime Minister and his Cabinet regarding negotiations on pay, the interim Royal College of Nursing (RCN) London director has said.
“The RCN has been clear from the start that our door is open and Pat Cullen is ready and waiting to negotiate, day or night. The ball is firmly in the Government’s court to engage meaningfully,” Mark Farmer told the Standard.
“Ministers have the power to deliver fair pay for nursing, they are choosing not to.”
Which London NHS trusts are affected?
There are seven trusts in the capital that are affected by NHS strikes on Monday and Tuesday:
- Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
- Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust
- Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust
- St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust