RCN confirms nurses on strike will attend emergencies

RCN confirms nurses on strike will attend emergencies

The Western Connect Magazine - Royal College of Nursing's leader denies Health Secretary
Royal College of Nursing‘s leader denies Health Secretary engaged with a union over the weekend.

TWC – According to Pat Cullen, the general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), NHS nurses on strike in England will attend to emergencies if required. Cullen confirmed that those on picket lines would return at their discretion. The RCN has allowed exemptions for some nurses in critical care to work during the strike, and Cullen disputed Health Secretary Steve Barclay’s claims that he had engaged with the union over the weekend. The industrial action began on Sunday and will finish just before midnight on Monday. NHS England has warned that the strikes “will significantly impact planned and routine care.”

In addition to the RCN strike, members of NHS Unite are also taking industrial action. Unite members in the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Yorkshire Ambulance Service will strike while NHS workers march in central London on Monday. Despite the strike, the nurses at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) will remain on duty due to the hospital’s apprehension about patient safety during the industrial action.

The government’s offer of a 5% pay rise this year & a cash payment for last year was turned down by RCN members in the previous month, despite the union’s leadership recommending acceptance of the offer. The strike by the RCN and Unite members is expected to cause significant disruption to NHS services. The planned industrial action on Tuesday was deemed illegal by a judge in the high court.

Cullen expressed that she hoped the government would “finally wake up” to the fact that the NHS is “on its knees” and that the profession is “at breaking point.” She also noted that the pandemic has only exacerbated nurses’ challenges and highlighted the need for better pay and conditions.

The RCN represents over 450,000 nurses, midwives, and health care assistants in the UK. The union’s strike is the first time it has taken such a step in its 103-year history.

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