Health Secretary slammed for ‘pitting nurses against patients’

John Bishop says nurses going on strike because NHS is broken

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Patients across England have been warned to expect disruption on Wednesday and Thursday but advised to go to their appointments unless told otherwise. From 8am to 8pm, emergency care will continue to be provided throughout the walkout.

Ahead of the mass walkouts, health secretary Steve Barclay warned nurses that meeting their pay demands will see patients suffer.

Writing for the Independent he said: “The nurses’ strike on Wednesday and the further walkouts for next month announced by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) on Monday will pile further pressure at this challenging time.”

He noted that he is “disappointed” that patients are once again facing disruptions to care services.

Approximately one in every four hospitals and community services will be impacted by the strike action by Royal College of Nursing members.

 

Mr Barclay added: “If we provide unaffordable pay rises to NHS staff, we will take billions of pounds away from where we need it most.

“Unaffordable pay hikes will mean cutting patient care and stoking the inflation that would make us all poorer.”

The Royal College of Nursing has slammed the health secretary for “pitting nurses against patients”.

It said that the comments made by Barclay marked “a new low for the health secretary”.

A spokesperson for RCN said: “Patient care is suffering because his Government cut nurses’ wages for over a decade, causing record nursing vacancies in the NHS.

“Paying nurses fairly and patient care go hand in hand.”

Despite saying that he wishes to work together with the unions, the RCN have urged the minister to relaunch negotiations.

RCN told Barclay to “get back round the table and negotiate a fair price for nurses”.

The pressure has been mounting on Rishi Sunak to take control of the strikes as further action is set to be taken by ambulance crews, civil servants, and rail workers.

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Downing Street criticised the synchronised strike action on the ‘National Day of Action’ as “not the right approach”.

No10 added that the action will cause “significant disruption”.

The Health Secretary concluded: “I know we can find a fair way to resolve this.

“I want to continue the constructive dialogue with union leaders about how to make the NHS a better place to work and deliver better care for patients.”

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