The nurses of Northern Ireland have joined their colleagues in England and Wales in a 12-hour strike, the longest such action in NHS history.
Staff will continue to offer emergency and urgent treatment, but scheduled surgeries will be affected beginning at 08:00.
While on strike, the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) must comply with trade union legislation and provide essential services, including those related to patient safety. Trusts have warned that services, such as routine medical care, will be impacted.
Community and outpatient nursing services have been put on hold. In addition, the number of nurses assigned to care for patients in the hospital’s less urgent wards will decrease.
Nurses in Northern Ireland are on strike for the second time in three years, demanding better working conditions and higher pay.
This time, however, nurses all over England and Wales are participating, making this the largest strike in NHS history.
We didn’t make any sort of waiting list.
Denise Kelly, a nurse for 30 years who spoke to reporters outside Antrim Area Hospital, said that despite the inconvenience for patients, she felt supported by the public.
“The health secretary — they are calling attention to patients having appointments canceled today — nurses did not create these waiting lists, we did not create these difficulties.
She emphasized that the staff was also there to “advocate and fight for” patients.
A nurse at the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH) in Enniskillen Ursula Barrett echoed the concerns of the nursing staff about providing a safe service.
There are breaches in every emergency department and every ward, and no people can be discharged to make room.
Anyone in our family, including myself, maybe one of those patients, she said.
According to BBC South West’s Julian Fowler, SWAH workers braved subfreezing temperatures while picketing.
Despite the disruption to services, he said drivers had been honking their horns in solidarity.
*The Western Health Trust has announced that 587 outpatient appointments have been rescheduled throughout its locations due to the strike.
*A total of eight in-hospital and outpatient operations were scrapped.
Care at eleven of the trust’s primary care clinics will be unavailable on Thursday, and community nursing hours will be cut back.
The reason for the strike is unclear.
The healthcare system is under increasing strain, so recently graduated nurses discuss their prospects in the field.
According to the RCN, a trade union that represents almost half a million nurses in the UK, real-terms wage cuts have left nurses 20% worse off since 2010. The RCN is advocating for a pay raise of 5% over the RPI inflation rate to combat this problem.
The Department of Health issued a statement saying the strike would further degrade already shaky services and that there were no easy answers to the pay dispute.
Nurses in Northern Ireland have gone on strike for the third day in a row, after a 24-hour walkout by members of three of the largest unions in the health sector on April 1.
According to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the union is demanding a wage increase of 19.2 percent, which is deemed unaffordable by ministers.
The RCN’s head, Pat Cullen, and Health Secretary Steve Barclay were unable to reach an agreement on wages, leading to the walkout.
As a result of the health secretary’s refusal to discuss salary during Monday’s meeting, Ms. Cullen announced that the scheduled strikes for December 15 and 20 will go ahead as planned.
.What effects could a strike by nurses have on their patients?
.What will the December strikers’ salary demands add up to?
According to a spokeswoman, the health secretary warned Ms. Cullen that if she received a wage raise, it would mean less funding for emergency care and the reduction of the post-Covid backlog.
The RCN claimed its salary requests were warranted because nurses’ wages had been stagnant for several years while costs of living soared.
We’re in this to defend our patients.
From the picket line outside Antrim Area Hospital, nurse and National Chair of the RCN trade union committee Denise Kelly gave an interview to the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster program.
She said the NHS cannot attract enough nurses with its existing offer, thus the protest was about salary and patient safety.
In Northern Ireland, there are over 3,000 open nursing positions.
Every day, our services are threatened and we are under intense pressure. We know that waiting lists in Northern Ireland were the longest in the entire country. That’s why all of us have gathered here today; we want to do something about it.
Medical staff outside Londonderry’s Altnagelvin Hospital on a Thursday morning.
Nurse Laura McClintock, on the picket line outside Londonderry’s Altnagelvin Hospital, said the nurses were striking to “fight for patient care.”
No one goes into nursing expecting to get rich, but circumstances are so bad right now that we’re losing nurses at an alarming rate.
“I love my profession and the patients I care for, but I see that people are struggling and nurses are struggling,” she said.