LONDON (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – Nurses at half of all NHS sites in England, including Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, will take part in unprecedented strikes next month for pay, the their union.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) had previously said nurses would leave on 15 and 20 December, the first such action in its 100-year history, after the government refused to comply with calls for wage increases of 5% above inflation.
The RCN, whose more than 465,000 members include nurses, midwives, care assistants and nursing students, said on Tuesday NHS facilities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland would be affected by the strike by up to 100,000 nurses.
“Ministers have rejected my offer of formal wage negotiations,” RCN Secretary-General Pat Cullen said in a statement. “It left us no choice but to announce where our members strike in December.”
The RCN said there would be strikes at all but one NHS employers in Wales and across Northern Ireland. The Scottish Government entered into negotiations with the union with a separate wage offer, so no strikes were announced.
More strikes could be called if the talks are not held, he said.
The strikes will add pressure on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as Britain faces a looming economic recession and cost-of-living crisis with inflation reaching a 41-year high of 11.1% in October.
The NHS, which has been providing free healthcare at the point of use since 1948, is now dealing with a record 7 million patients on waiting lists for hospital treatment. The first aid and emergency departments are also under pressure.
(Reporting by Muvija M; Editing by Catherine Evans)