Cancer nurses go on strike today as half of England’s trusts stage 28-hour walkout over pay

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

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’s a strong possibility, because it appears that for our nursing staff that’s the only way that they can get their voice heard.’

Speaking today, Ms Cullen insisted that care would still be provided, telling ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘Our nurses will continue to work today to ensure our patients are kept safe, and those nurses that are on the picket lines losing a day’s pay, should there be other emergencies that arise during that period, I won’t even have to ask those nurses to return to work, they will return at their own volition.

‘They don’t turn their back on patients, they will continue to do what they need to do.’

Ms Cullen added that the RCN has granted ‘the majority if not all of the exemptions requested’ for some nurses in critical care to work during the industrial action.

Previous RCN walk-outs designed to bring the NHS to a standstill saw cancer wards protected.

But last-minute talks between the RCN and NHS England agreed ‘to protect life and limb services’ with the union allowing nurses to provide a minimal level of staffing in intensive care and trauma.

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) secured its own derogations after the world-renowned children’s site voiced ‘serious concerns’ about patient safety during the 28-hour walk-out.

Chief nurse Dame Ruth May said: ‘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.’

Today’s action comes ahead of a crucial meeting between unions, ministers and NHS bosses tomorrow.

It will see all parties discuss whether to accept the Government’s offer of a 5 per cent rise and one-off bonus.

The RCN are among the unions to have voted to reject the deal.

However, others, including GMB, want to accept the offer.

Members of fellow NHS union Unite also rejected the Government’s pay offer.

The strike will last all day until midnight and affect 50% of English hospitals

The strike will last all day until midnight and affect 50% of English hospitals

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.

‘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’.

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:

East Midlands

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

North West

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

South East

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

South West

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

West Midlands

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

National employers

Health Education England

NHS Blood and Transplant

NHS England NHS Resolution

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