THE public were urged to use NHS services “wisely” today after striking nurses began their walk out across the country last night.
Royal College of Nursing Members in over 100 NHS Organisations walked out to midnight today.
After the 28-hour strike, there is pressure on this union to make a u-turn and call off any new strikes.
RCN has to seek new authorization for further strike action after Tuesday.
Unison, the GMB and RCN voted for the Government’s pay proposal to end strikes. Unite voted no.
Ministers have urged them to “think again” as what they are doing “clearly does put patients at risk.”
Last night the RCN agreed to staff “life and limb” services including special care babies and A&E.
But NHS bosses warned this would still mean delays at hospitals and represent a “very significant” risk.
Chief Nursing Officer Dame Ruth May said: “Positive discussions with the RCN this weekend have resulted in a number of national agreements to ensure staff are able to provide direct patient care needed to protect life-and-limb services, covering neonatal ICU, paediatric ICU, intensive care and emergency departments.
“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.”
She added: “The public should use the NHS wisely, with those needing non-urgent care using pharmacies and 111 online as their first port of call.
“And if you have a life-threatening emergency, please seek help in the usual way by dialling 999.”