Nurses strike: RCN members at St Thomas' Hospital in London
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Pictures today show striking nurses helping a passerby who slipped over while walking past their picket line. Nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have taken action today, complaining that their profession is “understaffed and undervalued”.
Reports suggest tens of thousands of workers have walked out today, in the largest action of its kind in NHS history.
Further strike action is expected on December 20.
As nurses faced the cold weather outdoors – with temperatures dipping into minus figures – NHS officials stressed they are “pulling out all the stops” to keep as many services running as possible.
Striking nurses outside the Bristol Royal Infirmary were not, however, put off from helping a passerby who slipped over in front of their picket.
The individual was pictured being treated by the nurses.
They then took the passerby inside the trust after helping them onto a stretcher.
Ongoing treatment while nurses strike has been described as being on a ‘Christmas Day level’.
The strike action has yet to persuade the Government to change course on nurses’ pay.
READ MORE: Map shows areas set to be affected by nurses’ strike today
Ministers have previously described the Royal College of Nursing’s 19 percent pay rise demand as unaffordable.
Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman today added that Number 10 will not ask the NHS pay review board to rethink its recommended pay rise in light of soaring inflation.
He said: “Certainly no plans to tell the independent body what to do.”
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The RCN argues that “nursing remains understaffed and undervalued”.
It said in a statement: “After years of underinvestment, the Government must act urgently to protect patient care by protecting the profession.”
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said it was “deeply regrettable some union members are going ahead with strike action…
“My number one priority is to keep patients safe – I’ve been working across government and with medics outside the public sector to ensure safe staffing levels – but I do remain concerned about the risk that strikes pose to patients.”
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