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Strikes making workloads more challenging, says NHS chief executive

As biggest ever day of strikes in NHS approaches, NHS England’s Amanda Pritchard says effect of action by nurses and other staff is obvious
Strikers at Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield last week

As biggest ever day of strikes in NHS approaches, NHS England’s Amanda Pritchard says effect of action by nurses and other staff is obvious

Repeated strikes by nurses and other healthcare staff are making workloads more challenging, NHS England’s chief executive has said.

As the country gears up for the biggest day of strikes in the history of the NHS next month, Amanda Pritchard expressed hope that the industrial action could be resolved.

‘As the strike action is extended over long periods of time, and as those dates start coming

As biggest ever day of strikes in NHS approaches, NHS England’s Amanda Pritchard says effect of action by nurses and other staff is obvious

Strikers at Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield last week
Strikers at Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield last week Picture: John Houlihan

Repeated strikes by nurses and other healthcare staff are making workloads more challenging, NHS England’s chief executive has said.

As the country gears up for the biggest day of strikes in the history of the NHS next month, Amanda Pritchard expressed hope that the industrial action could be resolved.

‘As the strike action is extended over long periods of time, and as those dates start coming closer together, it does get more challenging, there is absolutely no doubt,’ she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme over the weekend. ‘It is clearly having an impact. I think that’s obvious. My sense is that everybody is looking to try and reach a resolution.’

Pat Cullen at St Thomas’ Hospital in London
Pat Cullen at St Thomas’ Hospital in London Picture: John Houlihan

Thousands of NHS operations were cancelled during the nurses’ strikes last week. Over the two days, NHS England confirmed 27,800 appointments had to be rescheduled, including 5,000 operations and treatments.

Ministers must talk about investment needed in nursing workforce, says RCN

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said: ‘Nursing staff did not create this situation, the pandemic did not create this situation – it was the government’s refusal to invest in nursing and tackle the workforce crisis which has led us to where we are now.

‘Ministers continue to boast about how much money they have invested to cut the waiting lists but still refuse to come to the table to speak about the investment needed in the nursing workforce to ensure patients get the care they deserve.’

Health leaders have warned that emergency services are facing alarming levels of stress and that more hospital beds are desperately needed.

Delayed discharge is one of a number of pressures the NHS is facing this winter, along with bed shortages, a fresh wave of COVID-19 infections, the worst flu season for a decade and ongoing strikes.

Strikers at Sheffield Children’s Hospital
Strikers at Sheffield Children’s Hospital Picture: John Houlihan

Barclay continues to refuse to discuss 2022-23 pay award

But health and social care secretary Steve Barclay has continued to refuse to discuss the 2022-23 pay award with unions, instead inviting them to talk about the 2023-24 pay award, rumoured to be budgeted at 2%.

Speaking to broadcasters during a hospital visit, Mr Barclay insisted he was working constructively with unions but said he was disappointed in the strikes. He appeared to rule out a 10% pay rise for nurses.

‘Well, 10% is not affordable, it would be an extra £3.6 billion 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,’ he said.

Thousands more operations and appointments are expected to be cancelled next month, when there will be more strikes by nurses and ambulance workers in England and Wales.


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