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Nurses and ambulance staff to strike at same time

Nurses and ambulance staff to strike at same time
By Jess Hacker
18 January 2023

Nurses, paramedics, emergency care assistants and call handlers will strike on the same day in February, with ambulance workers set to stage four strikes over February and March.

The GMB union today (18 January) confirmed that more than 10,000 ambulance workers in England and Wales would stage four walkouts on 6 and 20 February, and 6 and 20 March.

Workers across the ambulance services and some NHS Trusts voted to strike over the Government’s imposed 4% pay award, which GMB said constituted a ‘massive real terms pay cut’.

GMB’s national secretary Rachel Harrison said: ‘GMB’s ambulance workers are angry. In their own words ‘they are done’.

‘Our message to the government is clear – talk pay now.’

The first strike date coincides with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), whose members are set to walk out for 12 hours on 6 and 7 February if the UK Government does not open formal negotiations by the end of January.

Nurses will strike at 73 NHS trusts in England and all but one NHS employer in Wales, due to their ongoing dispute over pay and working conditions.

Nurses are currently on strike today.

Pat Cullen, RCN general secretary and chief executive, said: ‘Today’s strike action by nursing staff is a modest escalation before a sharp increase in under three weeks from now. If a week is a long time for Rishi Sunak, three weeks is the time he needs to get this resolved.’

Health leaders have now urged the Government to enter a renewed round of talks with the unions, or else risk further delays to patient care.

Demand for emergency care is high, with the latest monthly statistics showing a record 1.44 million attendances.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: ‘We’re now in the sixth week since strike action began and appear no closer to a solution. At the same time, the NHS continues to grapple with extreme pressure on its emergency care services and it is having to reschedule operations and outpatient appointments due to the strikes.’

He added: ‘There is some pessimism about the current state of the NHS, but local services have been making serious inroads into reducing waiting lists. NHS leaders know they face huge challenges in responding to the growing demand they are facing, but they need help from the government in bringing an end to the dispute.’

It comes after NHS England last week suggested NHS trusts that are struggling to manage pressures associated with industrial action contact their ICB to discuss mutual aid.

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