Today the NURSES will go on strike for the first time in the history of their union.
Health officials have urged Britons to continue using the NHS as usual amid disagreement over how clinics will remain open.
Cancer treatment, emergency and emergency departments and outpatient appointments will be affected by strikes after crisis talks broke down.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer called the strike “a badge of shame” for the government.
Many hospitals will be downsized during holidays or at night, delaying patient care.
NHS England Deputy Chief Nursing Officer Charlotte McArdle said: “While strikes will inevitably lead to disruptions, local NHS teams have made every effort to keep as many appointments as possible.
“It’s important that people attend meetings as planned, unless they’ve been contacted to be rescheduled.”
The first wave will involve about a third of England’s hospitals – up to 44 NHS trusts.
The Royal College of Nursing said it would continue emergency cancer care, as well as emergency or life-saving hospital, community and mental health services.
Efforts to avoid a strike failed as ministers refused to comply with RCN pay demands.
The union offered to suspend the strike if they were offered a better offer, but did not receive an olive branch.
Sir Keir Starmer criticized Rishi Sunak in The Prime Minister’s Questions for refusing to negotiate with nurses.
He said: “The nurses’ strike is a disgrace to this government.
“Instead of showing leadership, he is playing games with people’s health, and this leads to loss of life.”
The RCN has demanded a wage increase of around 19 per cent, which ministers say will cost a staggering £10bn.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Further pay increases will mean taking money out of frontline services as we grapple with record waiting lists as a result of the pandemic.
“My number one priority is patient safety, and I work in government and with medical professionals outside the public sector to ensure a safe level of staff.
“But I remain concerned about the risk the strikes pose to patients.”
NHS employers representing hospital bosses said they were concerned about the impact on cancer patients.
CEO Danny Mortimer said: “There are areas where we are disappointed that we have not been able to make more progress with RCN.
“The limited national derogations from oncology services are of particular concern.”
Four chief nurses in the UK called on the union not to put the lives of patients at risk and to continue the work of oncology services.
But the RCN authorities agreed to run only the most urgent clinics.
The second strike is to take place next Tuesday, December 20, followed by an ambulance strike the next day.
#Nurses #strike #today #time #union #history #strikes #oncology #emergency #departments