Nurses strike risks elderly stuck in hospital for Christmas as union targets key dates

Nurses strike risks elderly stuck in hospital for Christmas as union targets key dates

Other health unions also select workers for industrial action. On Thursday night, GMB Scotland announced the suspension of strikes due to start next week while they consult with members on a new pay offer from the Scottish Government.

Midwives and physiotherapists are also voting on strike action, while a ballot of junior doctors opens in the New Year.

Steve Barclay, health and social care secretary, said: “I am hugely grateful for the hard work and dedication of nurses and deeply regret that some union members will take industrial action.

“These are challenging times for everyone and the economic circumstances mean that the RCN’s demands, which on today’s figures are a 19.2 per cent pay rise, costing £10 billion a year, are not sustainable.

“We have prioritized the NHS with an extra £6.6 billion, on top of previous record funding, and accepted recommendations from the independent NHS Pay Review Body to give nurses a fair pay rise of at least £1,400 this year. This means that a newly qualified nurse typically will earn over £31,000 a year – with several senior nurses earning much more than that – they will also receive a pension contribution worth 20 per cent of their salary.

“Our priority is to keep patients safe. The NHS has tried and tested plans in place to minimize disruption and ensure emergency services continue to operate.”

The NHS Confederation pledges to prioritize patient safety

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “Health leaders understand that this can be an uncertain time for many people, including those who routinely rely on the NHS, and that these strikes come ahead of what tends to be the busiest time of the year for the service.

“The expectation remains that, as a minimum, urgent, acute and critical care services will continue on strike days, and should there be temporary changes to non-urgent aspects of care, such as checks and planned procedures, the NHS will ensure that this is communicated to the patients in advance, and prioritizes their safety at all times.”

Wes Streeting, shadow health secretary, said: “Why on earth is the health secretary refusing to negotiate with nurses? Patients already cannot get treatment on time, strike action is the last thing they need, but the government allows this to happen. Patients will never forgive the Conservatives for this negligence.”

Meanwhile, senior doctors at the British Medical Association on Thursday urged colleagues to become “activists” to build support for industrial action by GPs. Dr Kieran Shannon made the call at a conference of local medical committees, which on Thursday voted to cut GPs’ core opening hours to 9am to 5pm.

GPs said that expecting their practices to open from 8am to 6.30pm discriminated against those who wanted to have families, which because of a “still patriarchal” society mainly affected women.

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