23.06.2024

Striking nurses accused of risking patients’ lives as thousands of staff stage 28-hour walkout

Nurses have been accused of risking patients’ lives during today’s strike. Thousands of nursing staff in half of England’s hospitals, mental health and community services began the 28-hour walkout last night.

Last-minute talks between the Royal College of Nursing (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.

But NHS England told patients to expect major ‘disruptions and delays to services’ with nurses in emergency, critical care and cancer care allowed to walk out for the first time.

Chief nurse Dame Ruth May said: ‘These mitigations do not represent a return to standard staffing.

General secretary of the Royal College of Nursing Pat Cullen (pictured) said on Sunday that measures were in place to keep patients safe after concerns were raised on the impact of the strike action on emergency services

Most RCN members will strike until 11.59pm tonight, despite some receiving WhatsApp messages from hospital bosses offering up to quadruple their normal hourly rates (Pictured: Previous protest in April)

Most RCN members will strike until 11.59pm tonight, despite some receiving WhatsApp messages from hospital bosses offering up to quadruple their normal hourly rates (Pictured: Previous protest in April)

‘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.’

General secretary of the Royal College of Nursing Pat Cullen (pictured) said on Sunday that measures were in place to keep patients safe after concerns were raised on the impact of the strike action on emergency services

The walkout began at 8pm yesterday and will end at midnight, following a court ruling that a second day of action would be unlawful.

Doctors are being encouraged to join nurses on the picket lines by the British Medical Association, with the number of rescheduled appointments from all strike action set to hit half a million this week.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, which represents hospitals, said he was ‘very worried’ over the impact of strikes on hospital services.

He said: ‘I think this will be the strike that has the biggest impact of all the strikes we’ve seen in this last six months.

‘There have been real concerns about the risks to patients. The RCN have responded to the requests that have been made to them to encourage staff in certain areas – our areas caring for our sickest patients.

‘That’s very welcome indeed and that will make a difference. But we are very worried about the impact that it’s having.’

A meeting between ministers, unions and NHS leaders will be held tomorrow where it is expected a 5 per cent pay deal offered to NHS staff in England will be accepted by the majority of the unions.

Ministers accused the RCN of being ‘disrespectful’ to other unions by going ahead with today’s strike and encouraged members to accept the pay deal.

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said last night the impact left by the nurses’ strikes ‘will be felt for generations to come’.

She vowed to ‘defend our patients and our NHS for as long as it takes’.

Striking NHS staff will stage a protest march in London today.

Unite said the demonstration will pass Parliament and go to Trafalgar Square.

Leave a Reply

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