Cancer care will be disrupted when the first of a planned series of nurses’ strikes begins next month, leaving patients unable to receive some treatments.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is close to finalizing which areas of cancer services will be affected and when protected Nurses strike action On 15 and 20 December, for the first time in the 106-year history of the Union.
Cancer care includes many different types of procedures, including diagnostic tests such as scans and X-rays, sessions of chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and emergency surgery to remove the tumor.
RCN members have voted to strike Most hospitals and other providers of NHS care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland closed on those days in what union sources say is a show of strength to ministers over their claim for a pay rise of 5% above inflation.
Senior sources said the strike action was expected to last for 12 hours on both the days – most likely between 8 am and 8 pm.
Stopping work unexpectedly will seriously disrupt care and is likely to be the first time Series of attacks in winter and spring by other NHS staff, including junior doctors and ambulance staff.
RCN general secretary Pat Cullen told BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Friday that “services such as oncology would be terminated or exempted from any strike action” but added that it was too early to specify whether scans And services like other tests will stop or proceed.
asked about colonoscopiesA diagnostic test used to detect bowel cancer, Cullen said: “All the details are being worked out.”
But, in an apparent acknowledgment that some cancer care would be suspended during the days of the strike, she said: “Services that are not considered life-saving or emergency services will not be reduced. Get into specifics, they will be let down.”
The RCN is almost finished compiling a comprehensive list of the full range of services NHS Medical care will be affected and which will not. It is due early next week to finalize the list she will inform NHS bodies in all three countries.
The RCN said it had confirmed the dates after the UK government rejected an offer of formal, detailed talks as an alternative to strike action.
Cullen said, “It is more than two weeks since we confirmed to ministers that our members felt such injustice that they would strike for the first time.” “My offer for formal talks was rejected and instead, the ministers have chosen strike action.
“They have the power and the means to stop this by starting serious talks that address our dispute. nursing Employees have enough being taken for granted, low pay and unsafe staffing levels, enough to not be able to give our patients the care they deserve.
The strikes are coming after a series of individual ballots across NHS trusts and boards, rather than one national ballot.
In more than 40% of hospitals in England, mental health and community services nurses would not be entitled to strike because there was too little turnout in those ballots. However, action can be taken in all health boards in Northern Ireland and all except one in Wales.
Cullen said that the UK government had chosen to strike rather than listen to the nursing staff, and added: “If you turn your back on the nurses, you turn your back on the patients.”
she said she didn’t know Health Secretary presented the figures suggesting that the wage demand from the RCN is a 19.2% wage increase costing £10 billion a year.
“If [the health secretary Steve] Barkley wants to meet me, spins the table and stops the spin and starts speaking, he can deflect these attacks,” he said. “But my door is open day and night. I’ll make myself available , as will my team on behalf of our nursing staff.”
RCN said that despite a Nearly £1,400 increase in summer payExperienced nurses were actually 20% worse off due to persistently low-inflation awards since 2010. It said the economic rationale for paying nursing staff was clear when billions of pounds were being spent on agency staff to fill workforce gaps.
It said that last year, 25,000 nursing staff from around the UK left the Nursing and Midwifery Council register, with poor pay contributing to a nationwide staff shortage affecting patient safety. There are 47,000 vacancies for NHS Registered Nurses in England alone.
Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting said: “Why on earth is the Health Secretary refusing to hold talks with the nurses? Already patients do not get timely treatment. Strike action is the last thing they need, yet the government is allowing this to happen. Patients will never forgive the conservatives for this negligence.
Barclay said he was “extremely grateful” for the hard work of the nurses and expressed deep regret over the strike action. However, he refused to start formal talks and described the RCN’s demands as “not affordable”.
“Our priority is keeping patients safe,” he said. “The NHS has tried and tested plans to minimize disruption and ensure emergency services can continue.”