Should nurses get a 19 PER CENT pay rise? Vote here and tell us why…

  • Tens of thousands of NHS nurses are striking for the second time over pay today
  • Medics are picketed outside hospitals in England, Wales and Northern Ireland 
  • Only a Christmas Day level of service is being provided at dozens of hospitals 
  • Why are nurses on strike? Which hospitals are affected? Will ambulance services also be limited? All your questions about this week’s action answered


Should nurses get a 19 PERCENT pay rise?

Should nurses get a 19 PERCENT pay rise?

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Thousands of NHS nurses returned to picket lines today as part of an ongoing strike over pay.

The union organising the walk-outs, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), argues that nurses need a inflation-busting pay rise of 19 per cent.

It claims this is needed to help salaries keep on pace with soaring inflation as well as encourage nurses to stay in the NHS instead of leaving for other better-paid jobs.

But the Government says its 4.75 per cent offer is all the country can afford, and any additional rise will come out of patient services.

Both sides have, so far, refused to budge.

Everyday nurses strike thousands of appointments and procedures are cancelled across the NHS, contributing to a record care backlog.

RCN boss Pat Cullen has insisted nurses that nurses are not ‘greedy people’ and just need to ‘make ends meet’ with the union indicating its willing to compromise if the Government comes to the negotiating table.

But Health Secretary Steve Barclay is refusing to budge on pay, calling the union’s demands ‘unaffordable’.

He has, thus far, only stated he is ‘open to engaging with the unions on how to make the NHS a better place to work’.

And Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is also digging in his heels and refused to open negotiations, despite calls from some of his own MPs to show some flexibility on nurses’ wages. 

The Government is sticking with its offer of around 4 per cent, or £1,400, which was backed by its independent NHS Pay Review Body. 

But the RCN says the system, which was set up under Margaret Thatcher, is ‘out of date’ and ‘does not work for nurses’.

The Government’s hesitancy could be, in part, because nurses are only one NHS staff group seeking a pay rise.

Ambulance trust staff are holding their own strike action, and physiotherapists and junior doctors are also making their own plans for potential industrial action.

If the Government gives in to one, it will be hard pressed to deny others a similar uplift. 

The RCN has warned more strike dates will be announced if the Government refuses to budge.

Preliminary NHS data suggests 16,000 procedures, appointments and operations had to be rescheduled due to last week’s nurses’ strike.

Scotland has so far been spared any strike action by the the RCN after Holyrood offered nurses a 7.5 per cent pay rise.

RCN members have voted on that deal but the results have yet to be announced. 

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