Ambulance union GMB announces six more strike dates across three months
Striking nurses are marching with supporters to Downing Street as further mass walkouts of NHS were announced for the coming weeks.
In a message to the prime minister, nursing leaders said: “If you want to continue to have strikes … that’s exactly what you will get.”
Nurses and ambulance workers are set to strike on the same day next month as the pay dispute with the government shows no signs of reaching a resolution.
The escalation comes as thousands of nurses walkout today and tomorrow at more than 55 NHS trusts in England.
Earlier, Steve Barclay, the health secretary, claimed that patients would pay the price if nurses got a pay hike.
Writing exclusively forThe Independent, Mr Barclay said any boost to wages would “take billions of pounds away from where we need it most”.
He wrote: “Unaffordable pay hikes will mean cutting patient care and stoking the inflation that would make us all poorer.”
NHS to be hit by coordinated nurse and paramedic strike
Thousands of ambulance workers and nurses will go on strike on the same day next month as the pay dispute with the government shows no signs of reaching a resolution.
The GMB union said more than 10,000 ambulance workers, including paramedics, emergency care assistants and call handlers, will stage strikes on 6 February, 20 February, 6 March and 20 March.
Nurses are also due to strike on 6 February – meaning mass disruption can be expected across the NHS on that day. Nurses will also strike the following day, 7 February.
Nurses at 55 NHS trusts across England today and tomorrow.
Liam James18 January 2023 14:29
Barclay says 10% pay rise for nurses ‘unaffordable’
Health secretary Steve Barclay appeared to rule out a 10 per cent pay rise for nurses, insisting it was “not affordable”.
Speaking to broadcasters on a visit to Northwick Park Hospital during the nursing strike, he said the independent pay review body is the “right way” to deal with disputes between health unions and the government.
Asked how he planned to bring an end to another wave of health strikes due in February, Mr Barclay said: “The government’s position is clear, that the pay review bodies are the right way to balance the affordability to your viewers.”
Pressed on whether the Chancellor was to blame for the lack of progress in talks with unions and whether a 10 per cent rise for nurses was reasonable, he said: “Well 10 per cent is not affordable, it would be an extra £3.6bn a year and obviously that would take money away from patient services, essential services that we need to invest in given the backlogs from the pandemic.”
The health secretary echoed his words written in an article for The Indepdendent today, which can be found here:
Liam James18 January 2023 15:45
No 10 urges nurses to negotiate – after nurses urge return to talks
Downing Street has urged nurses’ leaders to return to the negotiating table following the latest round of strikes announced by the health service unions.
The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “We continue to be concerned with the level of disruption strikes bring to patient care. We are know that trusts are working hard to minimise that.
“As the health and social care secretary [Steve Barclay] said, we want to continue discussions. We think that is the right way forward rather than picket lines.”
Pat Cullen, Royal College of Nursing general secretary, said no talks were currently scheduled but urged the government to get back around the table.
Mr Barclay yesterday signalled that any negotiations would look ahead to next year rather than the 2022/2023 pay award which nurses say must be reviewed.
Liam James18 January 2023 15:15
Nurses march on Downing Street
Striking nurses have begun their march to Downing Street as part of a long-running dispute over pay.
Joining the march are members of Doctors Association UK, NHS Workers Say No! and NHS Staff Voices rally, who said they want to support frontline NHS staff on strikes.
Marchers gathered outside University College London hospital and will take their protest nearly two miles to the prime minister’s door.
Liam James18 January 2023 14:58
Health secretary told on the the picket line: ‘Every day is a challenge’
A senior nurse told the health secretary “every day is a challenge” and A&E is “always short of staff” as he visited a hospital during the nursing strike.
Alicia Borja said Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow is facing difficulties because “so many ambulances come here” covering a wide area.
She told Steve Barclay during his visit to the emergency department: “We have so many ambulances coming here. We cover a very big area and we are always short of staff, that’s another challenge, but we try to pull together and we have a very good team.
“We have hard work here and all the nurses are doing the hard work and management are doing their best. Every day is a challenge.”
Mr Barclay said that “part of why I’m here today” is to hear about “the hard work that’s being done”.
Liam James18 January 2023 14:40
George Eustice is the latest Tory MP to announce exit strategy
Former Cabinet minister George Eustice has become the latest Conservative to announce plans to stand down as an MP at the next general election (Adam Forrest writes).
Mr Eustice, 51, said he will not be challenging to retain the seat of Camborne and Redruth, in Cornwall, so he can pursue a “final career outside politics”.
Having served as environment secretary under Boris Johnson, he follows a string of senior Tories and rising stars in announcing their exit plans from the House of Commons.
Their moves come as Rishi Sunak struggles to recover from dire polling for the Tories which currently puts Labour 24 points clear.
Liam James18 January 2023 14:06
Tory minister defends ex-chancellor Nadhim Zahawi over his tax affairs
A Home Office minister has insisted no evidence has emerged of “inappropriate behaviour” by former chancellor Nadhim Zahawi after he reportedly paid millions in tax to settle a dispute.
Questions have swirled around the Tory party chairman since the Sun on Sunday first reported that he agreed to pay a “seven-figure sum” to settle a dispute with HMRC.
Adam Forrest has more below:
Matt Mathers18 January 2023 13:45
Tory minister backs efforts to strip rapist David Carrick of his police pension
A Home Office minister Robert Jenrick has said Rishi Sunak’s government will backs efforts by London mayor Sadiq Khan to strip serial rapist police officer David Carrick of his pension.
Mr Khan has said efforts will be made to remove the police pension because Carrick’s crimes were committed in connection with his job – but the current rules state he will still keep at least 35 per cent.
Our politics correspondent Adam Forrest reports:
Matt Mathers18 January 2023 13:15
‘He always breaks his promises’
Sunak responds saying that his government is delivering on the “people’s priorities”.
He claims Starmer will say anything “if the politics suit him”.
“It’s as simple as that”, he adds before saying that Starmer always breaks his promises.
He then lists a number of leadership pledges Starmer has ditched since becoming Labour leader.
Matt Mathers18 January 2023 12:45
Starmer: will he apologise?
Responding, Starmer again accuses the PM of deflecting his questions.
He says PM won’t say when he plans to deliver the “basic minimum service levels people need”.
Starmer says that, on average, some 700 people will call an ambulance over a 40 minute period – the length of a typical PMQs session.
Some of them will “wait and wait,” he says before asking Sunak: will he apologise for the “lethal chaos” in the NHS.
Matt Mathers18 January 2023 12:41