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John Martin
November 25, 2022

Nurses set dates for biggest walkout in NHS history

Nurses have now set the dates for two 24-hour strikes which will take place in December after a failure to reach an agreement with the government about pay.

The strikes will take place on 15 and 20 December and it's set to be the biggest walkout in the history of the NHS.

Nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland voted in favour of the strike after the government gave them a pay rise of at least £1,400, which equates to around 4% on average for nurses. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) asked for a rise of 5% above inflation.

Emergency care will still be provided but routine services and non-urgent hospital treatment will be hit, meaning the waiting list of seven million people is likely to grow.

Pat Cullen, general secretary of the RCN, said: "Ministers have chosen strike action. Nursing staff have had enough of being taken for granted, enough of low pay and unsafe staffing levels, enough of not being able to give our patients the care they deserve."

GP services will be unaffected as nurses working in practices were not part of the ballot.

Health secretary Steve Barclay said that the RCN's demands were not affordable and that he "deeply regretted" that union members would be going on strike.

Labour shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said: "Why on earth is the health secretary refusing to negotiate with nurses? Patients will never forgive the Conservatives for this negligence."

Other unions, including Unison, Unite, GMS and the Royal College of Midwives are also balloting members about strike action.

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