A number of NHS trusts that oversee healthcare in the Bristol area are set to be impacted after nurses across the UK voted to engage in their ‘biggest strike ever’. The ballot, among more than 300,000 members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) was the largest in the union’s 106-year-history and marks its first national action over pay.
It is understood that nurses at many, but not all, hospitals will stage strikes before Christmas that may continue until May 2023. The RCN has not disclosed how many of its 300,000 members balloted and voted to take industrial action.
The following healthcare trusts set to be impacted in and around the Bristol area are as follows:
- The North Bristol NHS Trust, which runs Southmead Hospital The
- University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Bristol Royal Infirmary
- The Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust
- The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
Pat Cullen, the union’s general secretary and chief executive, said: “Anger has become action. Our members are saying enough is enough. [They] will no longer tolerate a financial knife-edge at home and a raw deal at work.”
Ms Cullen called on chancellor Jeremy Hunt to shift his budget in order to come up with a better pay offer and dodge any impending strike action. She added: “Ministers must look in the mirror and ask how long they will put nursing staff through this. While we plan our strike action, next week’s budget is the UK government’s opportunity to signal a new direction with serious investment.
“This action will be as much for patients as it is for nurses. Standards are falling too low and we have strong public backing for our campaign to raise them.”
The RCN strike is likely to be the first in further potential action over the winter by different groups of health workers including ambulance staff and junior doctors. It comes after the Government refused to increase its ‘insulting’ offer made in July of a pay increase of at least £1,400 to about a million NHS workers, a rise worth between 4.5% and 5%, sparking widespread anger.
‘Critical services’ such as A&E and emergency surgeries will be prioritised in the event of strikes, NHS bosses have said, although planned operations and outpatient appointments may have to be postponed or rearranged.