NHS set to strike on 20 December in coordinated strike

NHS Nurses, ambulance drivers and hospital staff will strike on December 20 as part of plans being discussed for a co-ordinated Christmas strike in England and Wales.

The unprecedented day of industrial action will leave NHS bosses struggling to keep even the most basic services running at the standards patients would expect, with staffing reduced to “Christmas Day” levels.

It is understood that intense talks have taken place between the union representatives and the government on how to “prevent the loss of life”.

Salaries provide well below inflation in times of the cost of living crisis and are part of dangerously low staffing levels in some sectors Arguments for Industrial ActionSay unions.

Downing Street has urged them to consider the impact on patients before proceeding.

The prime minister’s spokesman said: “We are concerned about the impact of the impact of many unions on the people of this country as we head into the Christmas period.

“We recognize these are challenging economic times but public sector wage rewards must be affordable for the taxpayer.”

Three unions – the GMB, Unite and Unison – have announced support for the strikes, but have yet to make dates public. It is learned that talks are on between the three unions for a coordinated effort.

A source said they expected an announcement from the GMB and Unite about the strike date as early as Friday, but it is understood talks are yet to be finalised.

Discussions continued until Thursday but there is also a growing consensus that a strike on 20 December will create maximum impact with more than 100,000 nurses joining ambulance crews on strike five days before Christmas . Unison is not expected to announce its plans until next week.

Health associations have an obligation to maintain “life-saving care”, but officials said ambulance service staffing levels, in particular, were already below a level generally considered minimal for patient safety. was.

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GMB national officer Rachel Harrison said: “Vacancies are high in ambulance trusts in England and Wales and demand is however ceilinged – headcounts are generally essentially below what is considered a safe staffing level for industrial action.

“This means, conversely, we have to encourage members to work more during industrial action than what we consider to be safe employee levels.”

A senior NHS official warned that disruption to already overburdened ambulance services would make it impossible to reach patients following 999 calls within the current response times.

The source said the strike by ambulance workers would present the “biggest challenge”. That is what we are most concerned about.”

“It’s mainly because of the amount of pressure they are under and how they can be expected to maintain a high level of service with so many paramedics,” the source said. “They can certainly do contingency planning, and there is a chance that the military may come in for support. But it is not like other services where, to an extent, you can ration services, for example emergency not providing alternative work to keep more staff in care [in hospitals],

Dr Adrian Boyle, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that more than 200 people who died in England last week are estimated to have been affected by urgent and emergency care problems.

Figures released on Thursday showed one in three patients arriving at hospitals by ambulance in England in the past week waited at least 30 minutes to be handed over to A&E teams.

The figure is higher than at any point in the past five winters and is up 5% over the past week. More than 11,000 patients – 15% of the total – waited for more than an hour.

Professor Stephen Powis, the NHS’s national medical director, said the service was facing its “most challenging winter yet”.

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“These new figures show the NHS is facing a perfect storm, with winter virus cases rising rapidly alongside ongoing pressures in emergency care and extremely limited bed capacity,” he said.

Britain is facing a rolling strike in public services ahead of Christmas, including rail workers, teachers, security guards handling cash and run examiners.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), representing civil servants including Border Force officers, passport office staff and national highway workers, has also supported the strike action, but is yet to confirm dates. The fire brigade union is also planning to put its members to the vote after rejecting a 5% pay rise.

Members of the GMB, Unite and Unison voted earlier this week in favor of a strike across ambulance trusts in England and Wales after they rejected the government’s offer of a 4% wage award, which has been described as another “massive Real-terms pay cuts”.

RCN members plan to strike on 15 and 20 December and further unspecified dates in January as they seek to secure a 5% above-inflation pay rise, described by the health secretary, Steve Barkley, as “not affordable”. A request described in

Nurses will strike in 53 NHS organizations in England, including 12 of the 13 health boards and other NHS bodies in Wales and all 11 in Northern Ireland along with major acute hospitals in cities across the country.

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, called on the government to go back to the negotiating table.

She said: “Our concern is always focused on the patients. We believe that patients should have access to safe and effective care when they need it.

“But we respect the right of any worker to consider industrial action and know for many workers, going on strike is the very last option when all other means of resolving differences have broken down. We also We know how hard the last few years have been on people working in the health and social care systems. Many of them are disillusioned and many are leaving the service.”

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She said: “At a time when hospitals are struggling to cope, the closure of operations and appointments due to industrial action will add to the pressure on NHS services, which are already stretched to breaking point.

“Indeed, industrial action by any group of staff can put the normal operation of patient services at risk, which is why we want the government to talk to the unions to prevent any strikes.”

Read full story at the guardian.com

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