...By Enitan Thompson for TDPel Media.
NHS services across England face significant disruption on Monday as nurses stage a 28-hour strike over pay.
Warning from NHS:
NHS England warned that staffing levels in some areas of the country will be “exceptionally low, lower than on previous strike days.”
Strike and march:
The strike comes after a High Court judge ruled it would be illegal for the industrial action to continue into Tuesday as originally planned.
Also, NHS workers will march in central London on Monday while Unite members of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service are on strike.
Patient safety concerns:
The strike has raised concerns over the impact on patient safety.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) general secretary, Pat Cullen, said that measures were in place to keep patients safe.
The union initially said it would not agree to derogations, but it later granted some exemptions.
Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) is among the organizations where nurses have agreed to derogations after it voiced “serious concerns” about patient safety during the walkout.
Reason for strike:
The Unite walkout follows the 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.
More strikes planned:
Unite members at South Central, South East Coast, and West Midlands ambulance trusts will take part in industrial action on May 2, alongside workers at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, The Christie Pathology Partnership, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, and Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust.
The number of rescheduled appointments due to strike action is expected to reach half a million next week.
Comments from Health Secretary:
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said the 28-hour nursing strike was “premature” and “disrespectful” to other unions.
He added that the strike is disrespectful to those trade unions that will be meeting on Tuesday.
Exemptions in place:
Ms. Cullen said that national exemptions were in place for “those really acute urgent services.”
She urged the public to use NHS services wisely and asked those who need non-urgent care to go to pharmacies or dial 111 as their first port of call.
Nurses make up a quarter of NHS staff and are the largest proportion of the health service workforce.