Next month, NURSES will strike for two days to push their cause for higher pay.
On December 15, the Royal College of Nursing union members will organize their first walkout. Another five days after that, they’ll hold another.
Industrial action is being taken after ministers turned down the RCN’s offer of formal negotiations.
This winter will be marked by discontent among rail workers, civil servants and posties.
As operations are delayed in England and Wales, the NHS Chiefs have begun to prepare contingency plans.
RCN chief Pat Cullen said: “My offer of formal negotiations was declined and, instead, ministers have chosen strike action.
“They have the power to stop this by opening serious talks that address our dispute.
“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.”
Others health unions also hold strike votes. The ballot of hundreds of thousand Unison members is now closed. Midwives and physiotherapists can also vote on whether to walk out.
In January, junior doctors can vote.
Steve Barclay is the Health Secretary “These are challenging times for everyone and the economic circumstances mean the RCN’s demands, which on current figures are a 19.2 per cent pay rise, costing £10billion a year, are not affordable.”
He also added: “Our priority is keeping patients safe. The NHS has tried and tested plans in place to minimise disruption and ensure emergency services continue to operate.”
But Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting said: “Why on Earth is the Health Secretary refusing to negotiate with nurses?
“Patients already can’t get treated on time, strike action is the last thing they need, yet the Government is letting this happen.
DOCS SO RESTRICTED
One in three general practitioners still has less than half the appointments that are face-to-face.
The majority of consultations in nearly 1,900 out 6,000 surgeries were conducted via phone or video. One-tenth of the 32 million GP visits in October took place face-to-face.
During Covid, the percentage of in-person appointments fell from 81% to only 47%
Yesterday, however, delegates to a Gateshead medical conference supported a reduction in the working hours of doctors from 8.30pm to 9.30pm to 9am to 5pm.
British Medical Association’s Dr Keiran Sharrock stated: “If the Government was serious about improving access it would address the huge shortfall in doctors.”
The number of complaints regarding dentists and general practitioners rose to 120,064 in the last year.
AMBO WAITS ‘KILL’
A lack of hospital handover time is causing patients to die, according to ambulance chiefs.
One in three patients waited longer than 30 minutes for paramedics to get them into A&E last week.
And one in eight languished for more than an hour outside a hospital.
In a report, the Association of Ambulance chief executives stated that 44,000 patients were at risk due to long waits. The harm for 5,000 was more severe.
Chief executive Martin Flaherty said: “Patients are dying and coming to harm as a result on a daily basis.”
He said delays would only get worse as winter pressures increased.