Striking doctors and nurses consider walking out together as hospital chief executive warns new stoppages will ‘significantly increase risk to patients’
- Hospital chief executive Nick Hulme said strikes will notably increase patient risk
- Royal College of Nursing said its members will hold 48-hour strike from April 30
Striking doctors and nurses are considering walking out together while a hospital chief executive has warned that new stoppages will ‘significantly increase the risk to patients’.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced yesterday that its members will walk out for 48 hours from 8pm on April 30 after rejecting the Government’s five per cent pay offer.
NHS nurses in emergency departments, intensive care and cancer wards will take industrial action for the first time.
Nick Hulme, chief executive of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, told Radio 4 that cancer patients will face greater risks as care could be delayed.
‘If there is a delay to cancer care, some delays won’t cause significant effects, but there are many people who have been waiting far too long for care and this will only exacerbate that risk,’ he said.
Striking doctors and nurses are considering walking out together while a hospital chief executive warns that new stoppages will ‘significantly increase the risk to patients’
Nick Hulme (pictured), chief executive of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, told Radio 4 that cancer patients will face greater risks as care could be delayed
‘People are tired, there has been a huge amount of goodwill, there is always a lot of goodwill relied upon when delivering health care and that has been stretched during the industrial action previously from the nurses and now from the junior doctors.’
Mr Hulme added that strike action being co-ordinated by doctors and nurses could ’cause a risk I can’t quite comprehend’.
Asked whether the RCN would consider coordinating industrial action with junior doctors, the union’s director for England Patricia Marquis told BBC’s Newsnight: ‘That is something that will have to be considered if not least because we are all in the same space…’
It comes as The British Medical Association hit back at claims that its industrial action has caused a spike in deaths, according to The Times.
They insisted it was irresponsible and potentially dangerous to link excess deaths to strikes, and said urgent and emergency care was continuing as normal.
Meanwhile, Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive of NHS Providers, said the prospect of another nurses’ strike is ‘extremely worrying’.
He told BBC Breakfast: ‘The prospect of another strike involving nurses over a bank holiday weekend, which also includes emergency care, critical care and so on, will put enormous pressure on trusts and the level of preparation, time, effort, energy, planning that goes in to managing and mitigating for patients the impact of strikes is enormous, but it will mean more cancellations and we’ve already seen a huge number, over 330,000 appointments and procedures, postponed as a result of industrial action.
Royal College of Nursing (RCN) general secretary Pat Cullen on the picket line outside Great Ormond Street Hospital in London during a strike by nurses and ambulance staff
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced yesterday that its members will walk out for 48 hours from 8pm on April 30 after rejecting the Government’s five per cent pay offer
‘That doesn’t include the numbers that we’ll see from the four days of junior doctors’ action.’
The announcement comes as around 47,000 junior doctors finished their 96-hour strike in a separate dispute over pay at 7am today.
READ MORE: Fears of CHAOS if doctors and nurses strike together as nursing union rejects 5% pay offer and announces new strike dates: RCN to stage 48-hour walkout later this month and will NOT staff emergency, intensive and cancer care
The British Medical Association (BMA) has urged the Government to engage in talks over junior doctors’ demands for ‘pay restoration’ to 2008 levels. Ministers have claimed that would amount to a 35% pay rise.
The RCN escalation followed a 54% vote to reject an offer of a 5% pay rise this year and a cash payment for last year.
The turnout among RCN members employed on NHS Agenda for Change contracts in England was 61%.
The move followed an earlier announcement by Unison that its NHS members had accepted the same offer by 74% on a turnout of 53%.
RCN general secretary Pat Cullen has written to Health Secretary Steve Barclay to seek urgent re-opening of talks with the Government.
She said: ‘What has been offered to date is simply not enough. The Government needs to increase what has already been offered and we will be highly critical of any move to reduce it.
‘After a historic vote to strike, our members expect a historic pay award.’
Mr Barclay said it was ‘hugely disappointing’ the RCN had rejected the pay deal.
He said: ‘Their decision to escalate strike action with no exemptions, based on a vote from a minority of members, is also hugely concerning.
‘The NHS staff council, which recommended this offer, covers a number of trade unions who are continuing to vote, and I hope this offer secures the support of a majority of members.’
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