Everything you need to know about today’s NHS nurses’ strike

Today is the NHS’s biggest strike, with up to 100,000 nurses taking part in the picket line.

But why are nurses on strike? And could walkouts have been avoided? MailOnline explains everything.

Strikes: This map shows the hospitals where the Royal College of Nursing will go on its first pay strikes on Thursday 15th and Tuesday 20th December

Strikes: This map shows the hospitals where the Royal College of Nursing will go on its first pay strikes on Thursday 15th and Tuesday 20th December

This map shows the hospitals where the Royal College of Nursing will go on its first pay strikes on Thursday 15th and Tuesday 20th December

How many employees have left?

Up to 100,000 nurses will strike again today and December 20 after their union voted to take industrial action.

Walkouts will take place at around a quarter of NHS trusts and community teams across England, as well as every trust in Northern Ireland and all but one health authority in Wales.

Initially, however, there were fears that strikes would affect dozens of other locations.

Today’s 12-hour work stoppage from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. will cause significant disruption to services.

Who organizes the strike?

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN), described by critics as militant, organized the strikes.

Around 300,000 members were elected in the largest vote for strike action in its 106-year history.

Instead of a national vote, mini-ballots were held at hospital foundations or community services.

Pat Cullen, the RCN’s boss, has insisted nurses are not “greedy people” and just need to “make ends meet”.

A nurse waves as she and others hold signs at a picket line outside St Thomas' Hospital in London today

A nurse waves as she and others hold signs at a picket line outside St Thomas' Hospital in London today

A nurse waves as she and others hold signs at a picket line outside St Thomas’ Hospital in London today

What does the RCN want?

The union wants a wage increase of 5 percent above inflation for its members, which the government has described as “unaffordable”.

This would theoretically bring in an extra £6,000 a year for the average nurse, who earns around £35,600 a year.

No10 have so far refused to budge on their salary offer, which stands at around 4 per cent, or £1,400 in real terms.

Despite his demands, the RCN has indicated that he would accept a lower offer.

The RCN claims years of low wages for nurses have driven many out of the profession and are jeopardizing patient care.

NHS strikes in Scotland were called off earlier this week after two unions accepted an improved wage offer from the government.

So why isn’t every nurse on strike?

Not every hospital voted for strikes.

At least 50 percent of RCN members in each mini-vote had to vote for legitimacy of the results.

Even if nurses have individually voted yes, they cannot legally challenge their own trust if the ballots at their hospital go the other way.

Another reason is that not every nurse is represented by the RCN. Some belong to other unions planning actions on different days.

Some nurses who voted in favor of the strike will be assigned to work during the strike to maintain so-called life-saving emergency care and care for patients already in hospital.

Others said they could not afford membership fees even though they wanted to go on strike.

This chart shows the Royal College of Nursing's calls for a pay rise of 5 per cent above inflation for the groups covered by its membership, which include health workers and nurses. Estimates based on NHS employer data

This chart shows the Royal College of Nursing's calls for a pay rise of 5 per cent above inflation for the groups covered by its membership, which include health workers and nurses. Estimates based on NHS employer data

This chart shows the Royal College of Nursing’s calls for a pay rise of 5 per cent above inflation for the groups covered by its membership, which include health workers and nurses. Estimates based on NHS employer data

Who decides how nurses are paid?

The independent remuneration verification body decides on the remuneration of nursing staff after consultation with trade unions, ministers and experts.

However, the unions have criticized the independence of the body.

Ex-Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the panel that salary recommendations must be “affordable” and “within set budget”.

Ms Cullen has accused current Health Secretary Steve Barclay of “belligerence” after he refused to discuss the pay issue.

Are patients at risk?

NHS bosses have given reassurances they will do everything they can to keep patients safe.

The RCN has announced that it will continue to staff chemotherapy, cancer emergency services, dialysis, intensive care units, neonatal and pediatric intensive care units.

Some areas of mental health and learning disability and autism services are also exempt, while trusts have been told they can request staff for specific clinical needs.

When it comes to emergency rooms and adult emergency care, nurses work rosters Christmas Day style.

However, there have been concerns within the NHS about the level of coverage trusts can expect for urgent cancer treatment.

Some decisions are likely to be made locally and on a case-by-case basis.

However, Ms Cullen said “all urgent cancer treatments are continuing”.

Is emergency care affected?

Union laws require life support to continue during strikes, so workers are expected to work in critical care and emergency care.

However, it is expected that maternity services and A&E patients will experience greater disruption due to work stoppages.

Adult A&E and Emergency Nurses work in Christmas Day style.

Which services are most affected?

Routine services – including scheduled surgeries such as knee and hip replacements – are expected to be hit hardest by strikes.

Health Secretary Maria Caulfield said around 70,000 appointments, procedures and surgeries would be lost in England as a result of the strike, with thousands more affected in Northern Ireland and Wales.

Professor Tim Orchard, chief executive of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, warned some surgeries would have to be postponed by up to six weeks.

Patient safety concerns have also been raised due to the RCN’s plan to have night staff on strike days.

Critics have said it could interfere with timely administration of intravenous antibiotics, patient observations and medication rounds.

Has the RCN planned further strikes?

Members of the RCN will also be on strike on Tuesday 20th December but no strikes are planned beyond that at this time.

It emerged last night that union bosses have privately threatened to step up strikes in the New Year if the government doesn’t back down on demands for a 19.2 percent pay rise.

It would result in nurses in a greater number of hospitals going on strike for more than a day at a time – further cutting the level of care they are willing to provide.

What other NHS strikes are planned?

More than 10,000 paramedics and other NHS workers, including paramedics, 999 emergency workers and paramedics, will go on strike on December 21-28.

This comes after members of unions GMB, Unison and Unite voted to take industrial action.

GMB said its members had gone on strike over the government’s four per cent pay bonus, which it described as a “real pay cut”.

https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/health-news/everything-you-need-to-know-about-todays-nhs-nurses-strikes/ Everything you need to know about today’s NHS nurses’ strike

Brian Ashcraft

TheHiu.com is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@thehiu.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button