The number of services being excluded from strike action ramped up today.
Nurses are venting their anger today over fears they will not have their voices heard in a dispute over pay and patient safety.
Royal College of Nursing (RCN) members voted to take industrial action last month following a decade of real-terms pay cuts, mounting unfilled vacancies, and, more recently, a drop in training numbers.
Despite the action being planned for several weeks, the number of services being excluded from strike action ramped up today following an unprecedented intervention by the UK’s chief nursing officers.
Too vital to patient safety to strike.
A snap poll of just over 1,500 frontline nursing staff who were planning and permitted to strike by NursingNotes found that a stagging 64% are being told they are unable to participate in action due to significant concerns over patient safety.
Sarah, a nurse from Birmingham, spoke to us of her anger around not being permitted to take industrial action. She explained, “nurses are too important to be allowed to strike, but astonishingly, not worth enough to pay properly”. Before adding, “This should be a wake-up call if we are too vital to patient safety to strike, then we fully deserve a restorative pay rise.”
Around 40% of nursing staff also reported feeling coerced by employers into not taking industrial action.
Bankers bonuses over the care we deliver.
Nurses United UK has called out the government’s refusal to negotiate with RCN union head Pat Cullen.
Lead Organiser Anthony Johnson said, “We all need to remember, nurses have been struggling to live for decades. Our patients haven’t gotten the care they deserved for decades.
“Nurses have had to use foodbanks and worn bin bags to try to protect themselves because we weren’t important enough for this Government to stockpile proper PPE.”
Adding, “They could negotiate right now. They could restore our pay right now. They could end these strikes but they won’t because they want to prioritise bankers bonuses over the care we deliver.”
Invest in nursing.
Earlier today, International Council of Nurses (ICN) CEO Howard Catton wrote to the Health Secretary outlining concerns over a lack of investment in the profession.
In the letter, Mr Catton said, “We hear governments say that they can’t afford to invest in nursing, but ICN has consistently replied that the world cannot afford not to invest in nursing. Why? Because nurses are the bedrock of strengthening your health systems, of keeping people well and healthy, and having a productive population who can work.
He concluded; There can be no health security without nurses. The road to economic growth is paved by investment in health.”
This content was originally published here.