Thousands of nurses from half of NHS trusts in England stage 28-hour strike over pay today in blow to patients in cancer units, ICU wards and A&E – after union boss warned industrial action could last YEARS
- The strike will last all day until midnight and affect 50% of English hospitals
NHS services across England face huge disruption today as thousands of nurses have gone on strike.
A&Es, intensive care wards and cancer units will be affected for the first time in a dramatic escalation of the never-ending pay row.
Royal College of Nursing (RCN) bosses have organised walk-outs at more than 100 NHS trusts.
Action began at 8pm yesterday and will end just before midnight, following a High Court ruling that a planned second day would be ‘unlawful’.
Health chiefs today begged the public to use the ailing NHS ‘wisely’, fearing major disruptions and delays to services already buckling under routine pressures.
It comes after RCN general secretary Pat Cullen yesterday suggested strikes could years if the demands of health union bosses are not met.
General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing Pat Cullen has said strike actions ‘appears to be the only way nurses are heard’
Protesters outside Downing Street, London, during the nurses strike in January this year
She said: ‘If we have the same approach to pay negotiations next year, do we just grind the cycle again?
‘Well, there is a strong possibility, because it appears that for our nursing staff that is the only way that they can get their voice heard.’
Ms Cullen said on Sunday that measures were in place to keep patients safe after concerns were raised about the impact of the strike action on emergency services.
The union initially said it would not agree to derogations – broad areas of care where staffing is guaranteed despite industrial action – but granted some exemptions on Friday in an apparent U-turn.
READ MORE: Striking nurses accused of risking patients’ lives as thousands of staff in HALF of England’s hospitals, mental health and community services stage 28-hour walkout
Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) is among organisations where nurses have agreed to derogations after it voiced ‘serious concerns’ about patient safety during the walkout.
The hospital said it was ‘incredibly grateful’ to RCN members for offering assurances but took the decision not to stand down a ‘business continuity incident’ until it was confident it could staff services during the strike.
The Unite walkout follows rejection of the Government’s pay offer by its members.
The union said that with inflation still in double figures, the offer is a ‘substantial real-terms pay cut’ for NHS workers.
Unite members at South Central, South East Coast and West Midlands ambulance trusts alongside workers at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, The Christie Pathology Partnership, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust will all take part in industrial action on May 2.
NHS England warned that staffing levels in some areas of the country on Monday will be ‘exceptionally low, lower than on previous strike days’.
It added the number of rescheduled appointments due to strike action is set to hit half a million next week.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay has said the 28-hour nursing strike is ‘premature’ and ‘disrespectful’ to other unions.
The comments come ahead of a meeting of the NHS Staff Council, made up of health unions, employers and Government representatives, which will discuss the Government’s 5% pay offer.
‘I think this strike is premature and is disrespectful to those trade unions that will be meeting on Tuesday,’ he told broadcasters.
But Ms Cullen said there are national exemptions in place for ‘those really acute urgent services’.
The strike will last all day until midnight and affect 50% of English hospitals
Urging the public to use NHS services wisely, NHS England asked those who need non-urgent care to go to pharmacies or dial 111 as their first port of call.
Dame Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said: ‘We are grateful to the RCN for agreeing a process of safety critical mitigations and we continue to support all nurses, those who work and those who take industrial action.
‘These mitigations do not represent a return to standard staffing. The industrial action will still have a very significant impact on services during the strike period and patients can expect to see longer waits for care.
‘The public should use the NHS wisely, with those needing non-urgent care using pharmacies and 111 online as their first port of call. And if you have a life-threatening emergency, please seek help in the usual way by dialling 999.’
Nurses make up a quarter of NHS staff and are the biggest proportion of the health service workforce.
Where are the nurses striking today?
The RCN has said walk-out will be held at the following NHS workplaces in England:
Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Derby and Derbyshire ICB
NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire ICB
Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust
East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust
NHS Hertfordshire and West Essex ICB
NHS Mid and South Essex ICB
NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB
NHS Suffolk and North East Essex ICB
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Norfolk Community Health and Care
NHS Trust Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust
Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust
Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
NHS North Central London ICB
NHS South West London ICB
Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust
Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Cheshire and Merseyside ICB
NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB
North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust
St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust
The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust
Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust
Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Wrightington Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust
Country Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust
Gateshead NHS Foundation Trust
North of England Commissioning Support (NECS)
North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust
East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust
Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Kent and Medway ICB
NHS Surrey Heartlands ICB
Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
South East Coast Ambulance Service
Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust
Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
Solent NHS Trust
South Central Ambulance Services NHS Foundation Trust
Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust
Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Devon Partnership NHS Trust
Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust
Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire ICB
NHS Devon ICB (One Devon)
NHS Dorset ICB (One Dorset)
NHS Gloucestershire ICB (One Gloucestershire)
North Bristol NHS Trust
Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust
Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust
Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust
Midlands and Lancashire CSU
Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Birmingham and Solihull ICB (BSol ICB)
NHS Black Country ICB
Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust
The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
Yorkshire and the Humber
Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust
Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust
NHS North West Yorkshire ICB
Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Health Education England
NHS Blood and Transplant
NHS England NHS Resolution
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