Dates have been announced for nurses ‘biggest walk out in history’

The Royal college of nursing (RCN) has announced the dates for when nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be striking next month.

Today, the RCN announced nurses will go on two 12 hour strikes on 15th and 20th December, following a pay dispute with the government.

group of doctors walking on hospital hallway

Nurses will be providing emergency care, such as urgent cancer services and care for vulnerable patients alongside A&E and intensive care, but routine services will be hit. Although, decisions remain up to unions about how many nurses will be working on strike days.

The RCN have said strike action has come as a last resort as minister’s would not reopen talks to discuss a potential pay rise as the government have previously deemed it ‘unaffordable’.

Pat Cullen, RCN General Secretary said, ‘Ministers have chosen strike action. Nursing staff have had enough of being taken for granted, enough of low pay and unsafe staffing levels, enough of not being able to give our patients the care they deserve.’

In September, the BBC revealed that more than 40,000 nurses have quit the NHS which has left staffing levels dangerously low.

However, Health Secretary, Steve Barclay has said he ‘deeply regretted’ union members would be striking, claiming the government had already given nurses a 3% pay rise last year, for the work they completed during the pandemic, despite a public-sector pay freeze.

Mr Barclay said, ‘Our priority is keeping patients safe. The NHS has tried and tested plans in place to minimise disruption’.

Although the RCN has asked the government for a pay increase of 5% above the current inflation rate but has stated that no UK nation has offered close to that.

Against this backdrop, nurses will be striking in Wales as the Welsh government said it is unable to discuss increasing their nurses pay without extra funding from the UK government.

Unlike England, Wales and Northern Ireland, strike action has been suspended in Scotland after their government made a new offer worth more than 8% for newly qualified nurses, which the RCN have said it will consider despite more senior nurses being offered less.


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