Health & Lifestyle

NHS nurse strike threaten Christmas chaos: Fears for most cancers appointments and aged sufferers

Fears have grown for most cancers appointments and aged sufferers this winter as nurses are set to strike for 2 days earlier than Christmas in a row over pay. 

The Royal College of Nursing introduced the primary in a sequence of stroll outs over pay will happen on Thursday 15 and Tuesday 20 December.

Nurses have promised to guard emergency and pressing care through the 12-hour strikes. 

However, the strikes will nonetheless have an effect on round half of hospitals, probably suspending 30,000 operations and lots of of hundreds of outpatient appointments. 

It comes as NHS bosses warned the well being service faces ‘its most difficult winter ever’ with the ‘tripledemic’ of flu, Covid and document demand on pressing and emergency companies.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay stated that he ‘deeply regrets’ the walkouts however added that the calls for – a 19 per cent pay rise – are merely ‘not inexpensive’.

Ministers have provided a pay rise of no less than £1,400 for 2022-23, the equal of between a 4 per cent and 5 per cent rise, and honours in full the suggestions of the NHS Pay Review.

The Royal College of Nursing announced the first in a series of walk outs over pay will take place on Thursday 15 and Tuesday 20 December

The Royal College of Nursing introduced the primary in a sequence of stroll outs over pay will happen on Thursday 15 and Tuesday 20 December

Influenza ranges for the NHS’s first week of winter knowledge are already 10 instances as excessive because the equal interval final yr, and twice as excessive as final winter’s peak, knowledge exhibits

Ambulance handovers also continue to suffer, with over 10,000 patients arriving at hospital stuck waiting over an hour to be handed over as medics struggle to find them a bed, a record number for the first week of NHS winter reporting in the last five years

Ambulance handovers additionally proceed to endure, with over 10,000 sufferers arriving at hospital caught ready over an hour to be handed over as medics battle to search out them a mattress, a document quantity for the primary week of NHS winter reporting within the final 5 years

NHS bed occupancy rates are sky-high at an average of 94 per cent for the week, giving hospitals little room to cope with seasonal pressures expected in the weeks ahead. The NHS has previously advised hospitals to keep beds at 92 per cent occupancy

NHS mattress occupancy charges are sky-high at a mean of 94 per cent for the week, giving hospitals little room to deal with seasonal pressures anticipated within the weeks forward. The NHS has beforehand suggested hospitals to maintain beds at 92 per cent occupancy

Official figures show 7.1million people in England were in the queue for routine hospital treatment, such as hip and knee operations, by the end of September ¿ the equivalent of one in eight people (red line). The figure includes more than 400,000 people who have been waiting, often in pain, for over one year (yellow bars)

Official figures present 7.1million individuals in England had been within the queue for routine hospital remedy, resembling hip and knee operations, by the tip of September — the equal of 1 in eight individuals (crimson line). The determine contains greater than 400,000 individuals who have been ready, usually in ache, for over one yr (yellow bars)

Ambulance performance statistics for October show paramedics took longer to arrive to category one, two and three call outs since records began in 2017. Ambulances took an average of 1 hour, one minute and 19 seconds to respond to category two calls (red bars), such as burns, epilepsy and strokes. This is more than three times as long as the 18 minute target

Ambulance efficiency statistics for October present paramedics took longer to reach to class one, two and three name outs since information started in 2017. Ambulances took a mean of 1 hour, one minute and 19 seconds to answer class two calls (crimson bars), resembling burns, epilepsy and strokes. This is greater than thrice so long as the 18 minute goal

It comes as damning figures earlier this month revealed more than 1,400 people waited 12-plus hours to be seen at A&E each day in October

Meanwhile, emergency care efficiency has deteriorated to contemporary lows. More than 1,400 A&E attendees had been pressured to attend in additional than 12 hours for care day-after-day in October (yellow bars), whereas the bottom proportion ever recorded had been seen inside 4 hours — the NHS goal (crimson line)

Cancer care plummeted in September. Just 60.5 per cent of patients started cancer treatment within two months of being referred for chemotherapy or radiotherapy (red line). The figure is down from 61.9 per cent one month earlier and is the lowest ever recorded in records going back to October 2009. The NHS states 85 patients should start treatment within this timeframe

Cancer care plummeted in September. Just 60.5 per cent of sufferers began most cancers remedy inside two months of being referred for chemotherapy or radiotherapy (crimson line). The determine is down from 61.9 per cent one month earlier and is the bottom ever recorded in information going again to October 2009. The NHS states 85 sufferers ought to begin remedy inside this timeframe

The NHS's bed-blocking crisis has exploded since the pandemic with the levels of delayed discharge around triple the comparable figures before the pandemic

The NHS’s bed-blocking disaster has exploded because the pandemic with the degrees of delayed discharge round triple the comparable figures earlier than the pandemic

Nursing strikes Q&A: Everything that you must know 

What was the results of the strike?

Nurses on the majority of NHS organisations on the poll voted to strike – 176 out of 311 NHS employers throughout the UK. Some didn’t meet the 50 per cent turnout threshold.

When will strikes final and the way lengthy will the strike final?

Strikes are anticipated to start in early December and will happen over two dates, probably a Tuesday and a Thursday. They may final till early May 2023.

What stage of care can sufferers anticipate?

The RCN handbook says nursing provision through the strike interval needs to be equal to the skeleton staffing normally seen on Christmas Day, though the NHS says it has well-tested procedures to restrict disruption.

Which nurses will stay in submit?

Emergency nurses in A&E and intensive care will maintain working, as will district nurses who assist aged individuals in the neighborhood. Other exemptions will probably be negotiated at an area stage.

Why are nurses happening strike?

The Royal College of Nursing is campaigning for a pay rise of 5 per cent above inflation, claiming an skilled nurse’s wage has fallen by 20 per cent since 2010.

What is the pay deal they’re sad with?

Nurses in England and Wales acquired a pay enhance of no less than £1,400 this yr, however the RCN claims this left them successfully working a day per week free of charge.

Have there been nursing strikes earlier than?

Yes – some nurses from the union UNISON went on strike in 2014 and RCN nurses in Northern Ireland walked out in 2019 however that is the primary time the RCN has balloted all its 300,000 members in all UK nations in its 106-year historical past.

Who could possibly be subsequent to strike?

Hundreds of hundreds of junior docs, midwives, physiotherapists, paramedics, ICT employees and porters are amongst NHS employees both being balloted or anticipated to be balloted on strike motion over anger about pay rises. The subsequent outcome needs to be from Unison, who closes its poll on November 25 after asking 350,000 NHS staff whether or not they need to strike.

But the RCN has accused the Government of refusing to get around the negotiating desk, forcing them into industrial motion.

RCN General Secretary Pat Cullen stated: ‘Ministers have had greater than two weeks since we confirmed that our members felt such injustice that they might strike for the primary time.

‘My provide of formal negotiations was declined and, as a substitute, ministers have chosen strike motion. They have the ability and the means to cease this by opening severe talks that tackle our dispute.

‘Nursing employees have had sufficient of being taken without any consideration, sufficient of low pay and unsafe staffing ranges, sufficient of not having the ability to give our sufferers the care they deserve.’

The strikes will happen in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, the RCN has paused asserting strike motion after the federal government there reopened NHS pay negotiations.

It follows the primary vote within the RCN’s 106-year historical past, through which 300,000 members had been requested in the event that they favoured industrial motion.

The RCN stated it should announce which explicit NHS employers be putting subsequent week, when formal notifications are submitted.

Cancer hospitals such because the Royal Marsden in London and Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Liverpool voted to strike, placing chemotherapy appointments in danger.

Care at maternity hospitals and youngsters’s hospitals can also be anticipated to be disrupted, whereas nurses will strike on the greatest hospitals in London, together with Guy’s and St Thomas’, based on the poll outcomes.

Critical care in life-threatening conditions shouldn’t be put in danger with well being companies prioritising emergency care on strike days, officers careworn.

However, elective remedy, outpatient care and different healthcare companies are prone to be affected, exacerbating a postcode lottery of care.

Officials stated the NHS ‘has tried and examined plans’ to minimise disruption and guarantee emergency companies proceed to function.

Mr Barclay insisted the Government has prioritised the NHS, allocating an additional £6.6billion, on prime of earlier document funding.

As a outcome, newly certified nurse will usually earn over £31,000 a yr, with extra senior nurses incomes significantly extra, in addition to a pension contribution value 20 per cent of their wage.

He stated: ‘I’m massively grateful for the onerous work and dedication of nurses and deeply remorse some union members will probably be taking industrial motion.

‘These are difficult instances for everybody and the financial circumstances imply the RCN’s calls for, which on present figures are a 19.2 per cent pay rise, costing £10 billion a yr, will not be inexpensive.’

Other well being unions are additionally balloting staff for industrial motion, whereas ambulance employees in Scotland are resulting from stroll out on Monday.

A poll amongst lots of of hundreds of Unison members closes on Friday, and amongst Unite’s NHS members subsequent week.

Midwives and physiotherapists are additionally voting on strikes, whereas a poll of junior docs opens within the new yr.

Health unions have been warning for months that staff are quitting in enormous numbers over pay and low morale, resulting in employees shortages in hospitals and different elements of the NHS.

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