Tens of thousands of British nurses strike in first such industrial action in NHS history – live | NHS

Pat Cullen, the Royal College of Nursing chief executive, has said there is “nothing independent” about the independent pay review body process, adding that “hundreds of nurses” are leaving the profession every day.

“,”elementId”:”1dee0d1f-0e46-4f4c-a1a2-cf78bc64a534″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

“This is a tragic day for nurses, a tragic day for patients… and it’s a tragic day for the people of society and for our NHS,” she told BBC Breakfast. “And it’s tragic that this Government has decided not to speak to us, talk to us, get into a room on the first day of strikes, and that’s why we’re here today.”

“,”elementId”:”fa230387-0027-4665-93a8-6eec85080f72″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Cullen added that nurses were asking for the “20% that has been eroded from our nurses’ pay over the last decade to be put back” and Health Secretary Steve Barclay had told her she could talk about “anything but pay – that’s going to resolve nothing. What it is going to do is to continue with days like this.”

“,”elementId”:”073317d4-ac7d-4002-bdaf-da32e823e933″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

She said the independent pay review body was “set up by government, paid by government, appointed by government and the parameters of the review are set by government, so there’s nothing independent about it, and that’s why they came up with the 3% that they’ve come up with.

“,”elementId”:”686c20e2-e1d0-4c83-93bf-50a87b2bd7e7″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

“There’s nothing independent about the independent pay review body – it might be accepted by government, it’s not accepted by the Royal College of Nursing.”

“,”elementId”:”122365d8-f901-45c6-b36a-429642da628a”}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”summary”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671091111000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”07.58 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671091914000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”08.11 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671091346000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”08.02 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”08.02″,”title”:”RCN chief: ‘It’s tragic that this government has decided not to speak to us'”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 15 Dec 2022 08.37 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Thu 15 Dec 2022 07.25 GMT”},{“id”:”639acc988f085e6820540551″,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Ministers should ask the NHS pay review body to reconsider the pay rise recommended and consider how inflation has soared, as a possible solution to strikes, a former head of the body has said.

“,”elementId”:”679627ee-e648-4be7-af08-f207a1ce8932″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Jerry Cope defended pay review bodies as “fiercely independent” but told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme their decision could be “lagged”.

“,”elementId”:”a8d3c344-b842-46ac-a8b3-beb2eac0a843″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

“It took place in February and the world was a rather different place in February and therefore I think some of the evidence they considered was probably out of date by the time it was published,” he said.

“,”elementId”:”e34cab75-dcd4-4527-93a0-ef87fa1ab980″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

“That may be a possibility for a solution for this apparently intractable problem.

“,”elementId”:”c9326648-8708-491d-a059-72f8c04461fa”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

He added: “I think they (ministers) should ask the pay review body to reconsider what they did last year and not reopen last year because I think it’s too late to do that but actually say I want you to do a very quick turnaround for this year’s recommendations and I want you to take account on anything you might have missed last time round. I think it’s a way out because it respects the integrity of the pay review body.”

“,”elementId”:”00d88599-0f09-401a-9c73-41a271e0d033″}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”summary”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671089304000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”07.28 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671091837000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”08.10 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671089467000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”07.31 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”07.31″,”title”:”Former pay review body chair suggests current pay recommendation out of date”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 15 Dec 2022 08.37 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Thu 15 Dec 2022 07.25 GMT”},{“id”:”639ac9838f0834f3c057997d”,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Tens of thousands of nurses will strike across England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Thursday, sparking major disruption to services in the first such action in NHS history.

“,”elementId”:”a0d9f32b-790b-40f1-83cd-7d0cb4d80b8e”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Nurses will refuse to work at hospitals and other places of care across the three countries from 8am until 8pm, in the first of two days of scheduled walkouts over their pay claim.

“,”elementId”:”d6f0e9e8-cf7c-4dfb-aa05-173b32dbf50d”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Their action has led to large numbers of outpatient appointments and operations being cancelled. Urgent and life-saving services will be fully staffed, but many non-urgent services will operate with only the much smaller numbers of nurses usually on duty on Christmas Day or overnight.

“,”elementId”:”10e2f304-173f-4c75-a186-b5a0d471cae9″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Less unwell patients attending A&E have been told to expect to wait even longer than usual.

“,”elementId”:”87220da1-6f4a-42ff-81fb-6dfd6d52091a”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) are staging the strikes in an effort to win a pay rise for this year of 5% above inflation, and in protest at the government’s decision to award them an increase of at least £1,400, which is the equivalent of about a 4% uplift.

“,”elementId”:”b79627a9-16d7-466b-8b1f-6f92ec907476″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

The RCN’s general secretary, Pat Cullen, has stressed that nurses do not want to strike but feel obliged to do so because, with soaring inflation, the government’s pay offer amounts to a real-terms cut in their salaries after a decade in which the value of experienced nurses’ pay has already fallen by 20%.

“,”elementId”:”f1fee7aa-7433-40c9-8b6f-f64c1a8ced46″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

“Nurses are not relishing this,” she said. “We are acting with a very heavy heart. It has been a difficult decision taken by hundreds of thousands who begin to remove their labour from tomorrow in a bid to be heard, recognised and valued.

“,”elementId”:”7bc0d13d-6fdb-4f41-9e59-a6636025f18a”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

“It is a tragic first for nursing, the RCN and the NHS. Nursing staff on picket lines is a sign of failure on the part of governments.”

“,”elementId”:”5038def7-5a3c-43fe-bceb-7a56c937f97d”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

You can read more of Denis Campbell’s report here:

“,”elementId”:”08ee70df-3777-4caf-8a9e-a8657f5b260f”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.RichLinkBlockElement”,”url”:”https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/dec/14/tens-of-thousands-of-nurses-prepare-to-strike-in-tragic-first-for-nhs”,”text”:”Tens of thousands of nurses prepare to strike in ‘tragic first’ for NHS”,”prefix”:”Related: “,”role”:”thumbnail”,”elementId”:”5dab496d-5ea8-484b-b074-dc08c7585d76″}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”summary”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671089132000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”07.25 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671090821000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”07.53 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671089132000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”07.25 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”07.25″,”title”:”Nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to refuse work in unprecedented strike”,”contributors”:[{“name”:”Denis Campbell”,”imageUrl”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/uploads/2018/04/13/Denis-Campbell.jpg?width=300&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=c996a8d194e305ab66d04490c367c76c”,”largeImageUrl”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/uploads/2018/04/13/Denis_Campbell,_L.png?width=300&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=0123fc4ef1b5da6bea9331ad2ff141b1″}],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 15 Dec 2022 08.37 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Thu 15 Dec 2022 07.25 GMT”}],”filterKeyEvents”:false,”format”:{“display”:0,”theme”:0,”design”:10},”id”:”key-events-carousel-mobile”}”>

Key events

Pat Cullen, the Royal College of Nursing chief executive, has said there is “nothing independent” about the independent pay review body process, adding that “hundreds of nurses” are leaving the profession every day.

“,”elementId”:”1dee0d1f-0e46-4f4c-a1a2-cf78bc64a534″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

“This is a tragic day for nurses, a tragic day for patients… and it’s a tragic day for the people of society and for our NHS,” she told BBC Breakfast. “And it’s tragic that this Government has decided not to speak to us, talk to us, get into a room on the first day of strikes, and that’s why we’re here today.”

“,”elementId”:”fa230387-0027-4665-93a8-6eec85080f72″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Cullen added that nurses were asking for the “20% that has been eroded from our nurses’ pay over the last decade to be put back” and Health Secretary Steve Barclay had told her she could talk about “anything but pay – that’s going to resolve nothing. What it is going to do is to continue with days like this.”

“,”elementId”:”073317d4-ac7d-4002-bdaf-da32e823e933″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

She said the independent pay review body was “set up by government, paid by government, appointed by government and the parameters of the review are set by government, so there’s nothing independent about it, and that’s why they came up with the 3% that they’ve come up with.

“,”elementId”:”686c20e2-e1d0-4c83-93bf-50a87b2bd7e7″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

“There’s nothing independent about the independent pay review body – it might be accepted by government, it’s not accepted by the Royal College of Nursing.”

“,”elementId”:”122365d8-f901-45c6-b36a-429642da628a”}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”summary”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671091111000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”07.58 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671091914000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”08.11 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671091346000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”08.02 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”08.02″,”title”:”RCN chief: ‘It’s tragic that this government has decided not to speak to us'”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 15 Dec 2022 08.37 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Thu 15 Dec 2022 07.25 GMT”},{“id”:”639acc988f085e6820540551″,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Ministers should ask the NHS pay review body to reconsider the pay rise recommended and consider how inflation has soared, as a possible solution to strikes, a former head of the body has said.

“,”elementId”:”679627ee-e648-4be7-af08-f207a1ce8932″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Jerry Cope defended pay review bodies as “fiercely independent” but told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme their decision could be “lagged”.

“,”elementId”:”a8d3c344-b842-46ac-a8b3-beb2eac0a843″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

“It took place in February and the world was a rather different place in February and therefore I think some of the evidence they considered was probably out of date by the time it was published,” he said.

“,”elementId”:”e34cab75-dcd4-4527-93a0-ef87fa1ab980″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

“That may be a possibility for a solution for this apparently intractable problem.

“,”elementId”:”c9326648-8708-491d-a059-72f8c04461fa”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

He added: “I think they (ministers) should ask the pay review body to reconsider what they did last year and not reopen last year because I think it’s too late to do that but actually say I want you to do a very quick turnaround for this year’s recommendations and I want you to take account on anything you might have missed last time round. I think it’s a way out because it respects the integrity of the pay review body.”

“,”elementId”:”00d88599-0f09-401a-9c73-41a271e0d033″}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”summary”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671089304000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”07.28 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671091837000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”08.10 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671089467000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”07.31 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”07.31″,”title”:”Former pay review body chair suggests current pay recommendation out of date”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 15 Dec 2022 08.37 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Thu 15 Dec 2022 07.25 GMT”},{“id”:”639ac9838f0834f3c057997d”,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Tens of thousands of nurses will strike across England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Thursday, sparking major disruption to services in the first such action in NHS history.

“,”elementId”:”a0d9f32b-790b-40f1-83cd-7d0cb4d80b8e”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Nurses will refuse to work at hospitals and other places of care across the three countries from 8am until 8pm, in the first of two days of scheduled walkouts over their pay claim.

“,”elementId”:”d6f0e9e8-cf7c-4dfb-aa05-173b32dbf50d”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Their action has led to large numbers of outpatient appointments and operations being cancelled. Urgent and life-saving services will be fully staffed, but many non-urgent services will operate with only the much smaller numbers of nurses usually on duty on Christmas Day or overnight.

“,”elementId”:”10e2f304-173f-4c75-a186-b5a0d471cae9″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Less unwell patients attending A&E have been told to expect to wait even longer than usual.

“,”elementId”:”87220da1-6f4a-42ff-81fb-6dfd6d52091a”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) are staging the strikes in an effort to win a pay rise for this year of 5% above inflation, and in protest at the government’s decision to award them an increase of at least £1,400, which is the equivalent of about a 4% uplift.

“,”elementId”:”b79627a9-16d7-466b-8b1f-6f92ec907476″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

The RCN’s general secretary, Pat Cullen, has stressed that nurses do not want to strike but feel obliged to do so because, with soaring inflation, the government’s pay offer amounts to a real-terms cut in their salaries after a decade in which the value of experienced nurses’ pay has already fallen by 20%.

“,”elementId”:”f1fee7aa-7433-40c9-8b6f-f64c1a8ced46″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

“Nurses are not relishing this,” she said. “We are acting with a very heavy heart. It has been a difficult decision taken by hundreds of thousands who begin to remove their labour from tomorrow in a bid to be heard, recognised and valued.

“,”elementId”:”7bc0d13d-6fdb-4f41-9e59-a6636025f18a”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

“It is a tragic first for nursing, the RCN and the NHS. Nursing staff on picket lines is a sign of failure on the part of governments.”

“,”elementId”:”5038def7-5a3c-43fe-bceb-7a56c937f97d”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

You can read more of Denis Campbell’s report here:

“,”elementId”:”08ee70df-3777-4caf-8a9e-a8657f5b260f”},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.RichLinkBlockElement”,”url”:”https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/dec/14/tens-of-thousands-of-nurses-prepare-to-strike-in-tragic-first-for-nhs”,”text”:”Tens of thousands of nurses prepare to strike in ‘tragic first’ for NHS”,”prefix”:”Related: “,”role”:”thumbnail”,”elementId”:”5dab496d-5ea8-484b-b074-dc08c7585d76″}],”attributes”:{“pinned”:false,”keyEvent”:true,”summary”:false},”blockCreatedOn”:1671089132000,”blockCreatedOnDisplay”:”07.25 GMT”,”blockLastUpdated”:1671090821000,”blockLastUpdatedDisplay”:”07.53 GMT”,”blockFirstPublished”:1671089132000,”blockFirstPublishedDisplay”:”07.25 GMT”,”blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone”:”07.25″,”title”:”Nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to refuse work in unprecedented strike”,”contributors”:[{“name”:”Denis Campbell”,”imageUrl”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/uploads/2018/04/13/Denis-Campbell.jpg?width=300&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=c996a8d194e305ab66d04490c367c76c”,”largeImageUrl”:”https://i.guim.co.uk/img/uploads/2018/04/13/Denis_Campbell,_L.png?width=300&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=0123fc4ef1b5da6bea9331ad2ff141b1″}],”primaryDateLine”:”Thu 15 Dec 2022 08.37 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Thu 15 Dec 2022 07.25 GMT”}],”filterKeyEvents”:false,”id”:”key-events-carousel-mobile”}”>

Filters BETA

At the strike outside St Thomas’ Hospital in Westminster, Linda Tovey, a critical care nurse, said: “It’s getting harder and harder to come to work and go home and think ‘I don’t think I can actually turn the heating on'”.

“My salary isn’t bad for a nurse, but I still have to think about what I’m doing with my money every month and it’s not the position I envisioned myself in.
“People do a huge amount of extra work, when it comes to studies and things like that, and you don’t get the recognition in the form of a salary.

“My own particular circumstances mean I have roughly a few bucks left at the end of the month, but I still go home and think twice about turning on the light.
“I don’t cook in my oven as often since I realized that cooking a meal costs the same as it used to cost me for electricity all day.”

RCN boss Pat Cullen has joined union members on a picket line in London. And strikers were also pictured in Newcastle.

RCN chief Pat Cullen with members of the Royal College of Nursing at the strike outside St Thomas’ Hospital. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA
Nurses on strike outside the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
Nurses on strike outside the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA

Outside Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool, nurses gathered to join the strike from 7.30am.

Many held placards, with slogans including “Short staffing costs lives” and “You clapped for us, act now for us”.

One woman held signs saying “F*** the Tories” and “If nurses are out here, there’s something wrong in there”.

As Cars passed, they honked their horns in support of the strike outside the hospital’s emergency department.

There are pictures from the strikes coming through on the picture wires now. Here’s a first look at industrial action in London this morning.

Nurses strike outside St Thomas' Hospital in London.
Nurses strike outside St Thomas’ Hospital in London. Photo: Henry Nicholls/Reuters
Nurses hold placards in London as strike begins.
Nurses hold placards in London as strike begins. Photo: Henry Nicholls/Reuters
The strikers were out early in London this morning.
The strikers were out early in London this morning. Photo: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

RCN chief: “It’s tragic that this government has decided not to talk to us”

Pat Cullen, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, has said there is “nothing independent” about the independent pay review process, adding that “hundreds of nurses” are leaving the profession every day.

“This is a tragic day for nurses, a tragic day for patients … and it’s a tragic day for the people in the community and for our NHS,” she told BBC Breakfast. “And it’s tragic that this government has decided not to talk to us, talk to us, come into a room on the first day of the strikes, and that’s why we’re here today.”

Cullen added that nurses were calling for the “20% that has been eroded from nurses’ pay over the last decade to be put back” and Health Minister Steve Barclay had told her she could talk about “anything but pay – it won’t solve anything. What it’s going to do is keep having days like this.”

She said the independent pay review body was “set up by the government, paid by the government, appointed by the government and the parameters of the review are set by the government, so there’s nothing independent about it and that’s why they came up with the 3% that they have arrived at.

“There is nothing independent about the independent pay review body – it may be accepted by the government, it is not accepted by the Royal College of Nursing.”

Speaking on Sky News, Health Secretary Maria Caulfied said loans could not be used to pay for a bigger pay bonus for nurses because of the flaws in Liz Truss’ mini budget.

She said: We could have ignored the recommendation of the pay review bodies and gone for a much lower pay rise – we could go higher but we have to find the money from somewhere. This is not the government’s money, it is the taxpayers’ money.”

She added that around 70,000 contracts would be canceled as a result of the strikes.

An Ipsos poll found that over half (52%) of the British public support the strikes, with just 27% opposed.

Yesterday at Prime Minister’s Questions, Keir Starmer accused Rishi Sunak of “playing games with people’s health” by failing to negotiate a pay rise with the union.

He said: “Nurses striking are a disgrace to this government. After 12 years of Tory failure, winter has arrived for our public services and we have a Prime Minister who has curled up in a ball and gone into hibernation.

“If he can’t act on behalf of patients or nurses, or anyone who wants these strikes called off, then the country has a right to ask what’s the point of him?”

The former head of salary assessment suggests that the current salary recommendation is out of date

Ministers should ask the NHS pay review body to reconsider the recommended pay rise and consider how inflation has risen, as a possible solution to strikes, a former head of the body has said.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Jerry Cope defended pay review bodies as “fiercely independent” but told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that their decision could be “delayed”.

“It took place in February and the world was quite a different place in February and so I think some of the evidence they considered was probably out of date by the time it was published,” he said.

“There may be an opportunity for a solution to this seemingly intractable problem.

He added: “I think they (ministers) should ask the pay review body to reconsider what they did last year and not reopen last year because I think it’s too late to do that, but I actually want you to do a very quick review for this year recommendations, and I want you to pay attention to anything you might have missed last time. I think there is a way out because it respects the integrity of the salary review body.”

Speaking to members of the union who have already gathered on strike outside St Thomas’ Hospital in Westminster, Pat Cullen, the head of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “I want to thank you so much for what you are doing – you are just fantastic.

Some of those who have joined the strike are wearing white RCN vests with the slogan ‘The Voice of Nursing’, while others are holding placards with messages such as ‘It’s time to pay nursing staff a fair wage’.

Nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are refusing to work in an unprecedented strike

Dennis Campbell

Dennis Campbell

Tens of thousands of nurses will strike across England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Thursday, causing major disruption to services in the first such action in NHS history.

Nurses will refuse to work in hospitals and other care facilities in the three countries from 08:00 to 20:00, on the first of two days of scheduled departures due to the wage requirement.

Their action has led to the cancellation of a large number of outpatient appointments and operations. Emergency and life-saving services will be fully staffed, but many non-urgent services will operate with only the much smaller number of nurses usually on duty on Boxing Day or overnight.

Less sick patients who go to the emergency department have been told to expect to wait even longer than usual.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) are staging the strikes in a bid to win a pay rise for this year of 5% above inflation, and in protest at the government’s decision to award them a rise of at least £1,400, which equates to around 4% increase.

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen has stressed that nurses do not want to strike but feel obliged to do so because, with inflation soaring, the government’s pay offer represents a real cut in their pay after a decade in which the value of experienced nurses’ pay has already fallen by 20%.

“Nurses don’t like this,” she said. “We act with a very heavy heart. It has been a difficult decision made by hundreds of thousands who are beginning to remove their workforce from tomorrow in an effort to be heard, recognized and valued.

“It’s a tragic first for nursing, the RCN and the NHS. Nursing staff on strike lines is a sign of government failure.”

You can read more of Denis Campbell’s report here:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *