Nurses will strike, thousands of NHS procedures could be axed

Nurses WILL strike! More winter NHS chaos ahead with thousands of operations, cancer treatments and dialysis facing the axe as 100-year-old union votes to walk-out in ‘historic’ first ever ballot… so will walk-outs happen at YOUR hospital?

  • More than 300,000 members balloted by the RCN in the first vote on industrial action in the union’s history
  • ‘Bank holiday’ service is expected to hit thousands of patients, with delays to and cancellations for treatment
  • Almost 100 NHS trusts voted in favour of strikes in England. Some trusts did not meet the legal threshold 
  • Some ambulance trusts, plus local integrated care boards also voted to strike, with chaos expected across UK
  •  *** A YOU nurse who has voted to strike this winter? Email [email protected] ***

Thousands of nurses have voted to strike for the first time ever setting up the NHS to be crippled this winter.

More than 300,000 members were balloted by the Royal College of Nursing in the first vote on industrial action in the union’s 106-year history.

A ‘bank holiday’ service is expected to hit thousands of patients, with delays to and cancellations for routine treatment from operations, to dialysis, to chemotherapy.

Almost 100 NHS trusts voted in favour of strikes in England alone. Some trusts did not meet the legal threshold to qualify for action.

Some ambulance trusts, plus local integrated care boards also voted to strike, with chaos expected to reach all corners of the NHS.

All NHS employers in Northern Ireland and Scotland will be included and all bar one in Wales met the relevant legal thresholds.

Guys and St Thomas in London, opposite the House of Commons, appears in the list as well as other leading hospitals in capital cities of the UK.

This graph shows the Royal College of Nursing’s demands for a 5 per cent above inflation pay rise for the bands covered by its membership which includes healthcare assistants and nurses. Estimates based on NHS Employers data

RCN boss Pat Cullen wrote on Twitter that today would be a ‘historic day’ for the nursing union and that nurses would learn the result of the strike ballot after 11am

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has suggested most nurses forced to use foodbanks are being driven to do so by a broken ‘relationship or boiler’ on Sky News. The former Minister for Care and Mental Health has previously been criticised for sporting a £10,000 Rolex watch

In England and Scotland, trade unions must meet an additional 40 per cent support threshold among all workers eligible to vote, as well as the 50 per cent turnout threshold. This means that if 100 important public services workers are eligible to vote, at least 50 must turn out and vote, and at least 40 of them must vote in favour.

Given that not all trusts will participate in the strikes, an already deeping postcode lottery of care is expected to worsen, with different areas of the country to suffer vast disparities in waiting times for appointments, treatment and ambulance responses.

Critical care in life threatening situations should not be put at risk if strikes take place, however elective treatment, outpatient care and other healthcare services, including chemotherapy, dialysis and surgery, are likely to be impacted.

In addition to nurses, approximately one million NHS staff members, including junior doctors, midwives, ICT staff and porters, are either being balloted or are expected to be balloted on strike action over anger about pay rises

MPs have warned workers to ‘think very carefully’ over strike action and pay demands that ‘would just break the NHS completely’. Health insiders said if the strikes went ahead, it could see hospitals fall into disrepair and patients’ calls go unanswered.

A senior health insider told the Daily Mail that lives will be lost due to the strikes, emphasising that ‘nurses are going to withdraw for non-urgent care but crucial care’.

They said: ‘Everything from routine blood tests, mammograms, smear tests, colonoscopies, skin biopsies, X-rays will come to a halt if routine treatment is cancelled. They’re all considered as non-emergency but everything is crucial when it comes to healthcare, including preventative action.

‘Many of these are often investigations for more sinister symptoms and conditions such as cancer. Instead of getting care, patients will see if their symptoms have gone away and turn to complementary treatment, such as taking pain killers, or a massage, or getting acupuncture, going to see an osteopath when really they need an MRI scan.

Nurses ‘usually’ only use food banks if they have been dumped or their boiler has broken, health minister claims – as union gets ready to announce historic NHS-wide strikes WILL happen 

Nurses are ‘usually’ only driven to use foodbanks by a broken ‘relationship or boiler’, a Government minster controversially claimed today.  

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan’s comments are likely to further inflame tensions between nurses and No10.

It comes as the Royal College of Nursing prepares to confirm that tens of thousands of nurses will strike this winter after a ‘historic’ ballot. Cancer treatments and routine operations could be axed.

The union is arguing for an inflation-busting pay rise for its NHS nurses amid reports staff are being forced to use food banks due to the rising cost of living. 

But Ms Keegan, an ex-Department of Health minister who was criticised for flashing a £10,000 Rolex watch during the cost-of-living crisis, suggested the real reason is not low pay.

She told Sky News: ‘Quite often when you go to food banks, something will have happened, you know, something will have broken down – either a relationship or boiler or anything.

‘Usually they’re in an emergency situation.’

Ms Keegan then said she had ‘of course’ clapped for nurses during the pandemic but added that she thought strike action by staff was pointless.

Result of the RCN’s UK-wide ballot, the first in its 106-year history, are expected to be confirmed after 11am. A large majority are understood to have voted in favour. 

Today’s announcement is unlikely to reveal exactly which days strike action will take place on. Details are set to be ironed out with NHS hospitals in the coming weeks to ensure patient safety is maintained.  

‘There will be a knock-on-effect, with a lag on the damage that will be done. The strikes are intended to impede the system but anything that impedes the system will impede patients too.’

And while some staff might be brought in to help with routine treatment, they emphasised that nurses are irreplaceable: ‘Non-qualified staff are not trained for problems such as spotting when a temperature is rising, or when a patient is dehydrated, or when someone needs screening for sepsis. They did it in the pandemic and it was a disaster.’

Pharmacists are also concerned about the knock-on-effect in their sector.

Malcolm Harrison, the Chief executive of the Company Chemists’ Association (CCA), the trade association for large pharmacy operators, said: ‘A nursing strike will inevitably force patients to seek the urgent care they need outside of hospitals. As they did during the pandemic, when they find that their GP cannot help them, many people will once again turn to their local pharmacy.

‘Community pharmacies will be there for the NHS and for patients, for now. However, after years of underfunding and the huge cost pressure of a workforce crisis brought about by poorly planned NHS recruitment, the pharmacy network is on the brink of collapse.

Dr Martin Scurr, a GP with more than 20 years experience, said: ‘It’s the nurses and the doctors who signed up to put the patients first. To go against that tide, just because you want a pay cheque, it’s not right.

‘I know people have things they need to pay for, childcare and paying off loan medicines, but we need to do it honourably. But the pendulum swings, I never thought I’d be able to get a mortgage when I graduated, but it did happen in the end. We can’t do everything now.’

Mark Jenkinson MP told the Daily Mail this week: ‘In the same way as the police can’t walk out, I think those who choose the caring professionals need to think very, very carefully about the impact on the wider NHS.

‘Creating larger backlogs gives us greater pressure on budgets, which then impacts the ability for future pay rises. I mean, the NHS is on track to take nearly half of our national budget.

‘I fully understand the pressures of nurses but I heard a nurse this morning saying that nothing below five percent above inflation will do, but that would just break the NHS completely.  

‘I think we’ve just got to be really careful about the impact on the NHS on patients and that’s why we have an independent pay review body to make these decisions, independent of government, independent of the unions, quite deliberately.’

The PM’s official spokesman said: ‘We hugely value the hard work and dedication of our nurses. It is deeply regrettable that some union members are considering this action.

‘These are challenging times for everyone and obviously including the nurses. You’ll know the RCN is asking for a 17 per cent pay rise. To deliver that for all staff on Agenda for Change contracts – that would be nurses essentially all staff minus doctors dentists – that would cost £9 billion. In the current climate that is simply not deliverable.

‘We do want to give nurses a fair pay award that strikes the balance between the crucial role they play and managing the significant fiscal challenges we face. That is why we have given one million NHS workers pay rises of at least £1,400 this year.’ 

The NHS waiting list for routine operations in August in England breached 7million for the first time ever. This includes almost 390,000 patients who’ve been forced to wait over a year for treatment

The latest NHS data recorded that about 45,000 nursing posts in England are vacant as of the end of June. London has highest percentage missing, with 15 per cent of nursing posts unfilled

NHS data shows efforts to get more nurses into the health service are only barely keeping pace with the number of experienced nurses quitting

What ARE you doing, Steve? Nursing strikes set to go ahead this winter… but Health Secretary Barclay is ‘nowhere to be seen’ as critics accuse him of being an ‘invisible man’ 

Health Secretary Steve Barclay was today accused of being the ‘invisible man’ for his ongoing silence over potential strike action by NHS nurses. 

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is today expected to confirm that up to 300,000 of its members will walk off the job this winter. 

Mr Barclay, who is the fourth MP to hold the position in the last year, was reappointed to the role last month, but is yet to address the crisis.

This is despite dire warnings that it could lead to thousands of appointments being cancelled at a time of a record breaking care backlog.

It his second attempt at the job, having previously filled the post between July and September after Sajid Javid quit in a wave of resignations that led to the downfall of PM Boris Johnson. 

He replaced Thérèse Coffey, who kept the seat warm for a grand total of 49 days as part of the ill-fated Liz Truss administration.  

Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting today accused Mr Barclay of being ‘the invisible man’. 

Strikes could continue until summer next year, with the RCN’s mandate to organise strikes runs until early May 2023, six months after members finished voting.

The results for each NHS employer are analysed individually in what is known as a ‘disaggregated’ ballot.

Nursing staff were balloted following NHS Agenda for Change pay announcements earlier this year, which left experienced nurses 20 per cent worse off in real-terms compared to ten years earlier, the RCN said.

The Fair Pay for Nursing campaign is calling for a pay rise of five per cent above inflation (measured by RPI).

RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive Pat Cullen said: ‘Anger has become action – our members are saying enough is enough. The voice of nursing in the UK is strong and I will make sure it is heard. Our members will no longer tolerate a financial knife-edge at home and a raw deal at work.

‘Ministers must look in the mirror and ask how long they will put nursing staff through this. While we plan our strike action, next week’s Budget is the UK government’s opportunity to signal a new direction with serious investment. Across the country, politicians have the power to stop this now and at any point.

‘This action will be as much for patients as it is for nurses. Standards are falling too low and we have strong public backing for our campaign to raise them. This winter, we are asking the public to show nursing staff you are with us.’

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: ‘Health leaders know that this is not a decision that voting nurses will have taken lightly.

‘We hope that the negotiating parties can reach a compromise that will both minimise disruption to patient care and benefit frontline staff. The last thing anyone wants is a ‘war of attrition’ playing out over many months.

‘Health leaders are now focused on understanding the specific implications of industrial action in their services and putting in place to ensure that as a minimum, urgent, emergency and critical care services can continue on any strike days. If any changes need to be made to non-urgent care services, such as check-ups and elective care, they will ensure this is communicated in advance to patients.’

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: ‘We are all hugely grateful for the hard work and dedication of NHS staff, including nurses, and deeply regret that some union members have voted for industrial action.

‘These are challenging times, which is why we accepted the recommendations of the independent NHS Pay Review Body in full and have given over one million NHS workers a pay rise of at least £1,400 this year. This is on top of a 3% pay increase last year when public sector pay was frozen and wider government support with the cost of living.

‘Our priority is keeping patients safe during any strikes. The NHS has tried and tested plans in place to minimise disruption and ensure emergency services continue to operate.’ 

An NHS spokesman said: ‘While pay is a matter for Government and the trade unions, we value our staff and want to see a resolution as soon as possible to ensure we can continue to focus on supporting our NHS organisations to deliver world class patient care to all those who need it.’

Saffron Cordery, interim chief executive of NHS Providers, said: ‘Trust leaders have been planning for possible strikes. Their priorities are to ensure the safe delivery of care and services for patients during any industrial action and to support the wellbeing of their staff.

‘We need to see the detail of what any action might look like but trust leaders will do all they can to minimise disruption for patients.

‘We understand just how strongly nurses feel and why they’ve got to this point: below-inflation pay awards amid the rising cost of living, severe staff shortages and ever-increasing workloads. The context of a very challenging period due to the COVID-19 pandemic also can’t be understated.

‘The government needs to sit down with union leaders to find an agreed solution as soon as possible. Prolonged action is something everyone wants to avoid.’ 

Wes Streeting MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said: ‘There were no strikes in the NHS during 13 years when Labour was last in government. If we were in office today, we would be talking with the RCN and doing everything we can to prevent these strikes going ahead.

‘Government ministers spent the summer dodging calls and requests for meetings from the Royal College of Nursing. It is unacceptable negligence.

‘The Conservatives have stopped governing and it is nurses and patients who will be made to pay the price.’

Where WILL strike action take place?

ENGLAND

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust

Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust

Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust

St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust

Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Found Trust

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Found Trust

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

Wrightington Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust

Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust

Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Found Trust

Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust

St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust

Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust

The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Solent NHS Trust

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Devon Partnership NHS Trust

Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

North Bristol NHS Trust

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust

University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust

Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust

Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust

Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust

University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

Somerset NHS Foundation Trust

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust

The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust

Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust

Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

WALES

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Powys Teaching Local Health Board

Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust Headquarters

Hywel Dda University Health Board

Swansea Bay University Health Board

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board

Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board

Velindre NHS Trust 

NORTHERN IRELAND

Southern Health and Social Care Trust

Western Health and Social Care Trust

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

Northern Health and Social Care Trust

South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust

SCOTLAND

NHS Borders

NHS Education For Scotland

NHS Fife

NHS National Services Scotland

NHS Shetland

NHS Western Isles

NHS Dumfries and Galloway

NHS Orkney

NHS Golden Jubilee

NHS Grampian

NHS Tayside

NHS Ayrshire and Arran

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

NHS Lothian

NHS Lanarkshire

NHS Highland

NHS Forth Valley

Source: Read Full Article