February 4, 2023

As many as six in 10 routine operations have been canceled in hospitals amid the biggest strike ever by NHS nurses, health leaders confirmed today ahead of more strikes by nurses and paramedics next week.

Hospitals canceled between 40 and 60 percent of elective procedures yesterday, such as hip and knee surgeries, as up to 100,000 nurses joined the picket line over wages and working conditions.

Saffron Cordery, acting chief executive of NHS Providers, said next week, which will see doctors picketing for a second time on Wednesday, followed by paramedics on Thursday, will be “a huge challenge” for the health service.

It comes as ministers face mounting pressure from their own MPs to resolve nursing strikes after 70,000 appointments, including some for cancer patients, were cancelled.

NEWCASTLE: RCN members on the picket line outside the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle

Hospitals canceled between 40 and 60 percent of elective procedures, such as hip and knee operations, yesterday as up to 100,000 nurses joined the pickets, according to Saffron Cordery (pictured), acting chief executive of NHS Providers.

Hospitals canceled between 40 and 60 percent of elective procedures, such as hip and knee operations, yesterday as up to 100,000 nurses joined the pickets, according to Saffron Cordery (pictured), acting chief executive of NHS Providers.

Hospitals canceled between 40 and 60 percent of elective procedures, such as hip and knee operations, yesterday as up to 100,000 nurses joined the pickets, according to Saffron Cordery (pictured), acting chief executive of NHS Providers.

She said the coming week, which will see medics picketing for a second time on Wednesday, followed by paramedics on Thursday, will be “very challenging” for the health service.

Ms Cordery told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It will be increasingly difficult for trusted leaders to manage this process because we know that winter is always a very difficult time in the NHS and we know that it is a particularly demanding time. “.

“Coming along with an ambulance strike the next day, I think it’s going to be a very difficult time next week.”

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The nurses’ strike had a “significant impact” on hospitals and patients, he said.

He added: “I think we know that there were some real pressure points in emergency departments, for example, including things like the slow transfer of patients out of those departments.”

“In terms of routine operations, so far we’ve heard that probably 40 to 60 percent of those routine operations have been canceled at the strike locations.

“So it’s fair to say there’s been a relatively significant impact and I think it was a very demanding day overall, on the front lines in the NHS.”

A total of 44 trusts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland held a ‘Christmas service’ yesterday. Cancer patients were among those denied care after the Royal College of Nursing called the first national strike in its 106-year history.

The dispute is over pay and working conditions, with the RCN demanding a 5 percent wage increase above RPI inflation, equivalent to a 19 percent increase.

However, he has indicated that he would accept a lower offer.

So far the government has refused to negotiate wages and has stood by its offer of around 4 per cent, or £1,400, which is backed by its independent NHS wage review body.

But the union says the system, which was established under Margaret Thatcher, is “outdated” and “doesn’t work for nurses”.

Yesterday marked the first day of industrial action among nurses, with a second set for December 20.

The union is also expected to announce more dates for January, unless an agreement is reached with the government. That action could cause even more disruption for patients.

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Health Secretary Steve Barclay and Health Minister Maria Caulfield stood by the decision to give nurses a 4 per cent raise.

But Steve Brine, Conservative chairman of the House of Commons health and social care committee, and Sir Jake Berry, former chairman of the Conservative Party, called on ministers to reconsider their position in a bid to avoid further chaos.

Brine said it would be a good idea to ask the independent panel to review its advice, which was given before inflation spiked amid the war in Ukraine.

“Everyone needs to cool it down and I think sending it back to the wage review body for review would be a sensible response,” he told the BBC’s World At One programme.

He suggested that this would be a way for the RCN to back down from its second day of strikes, scheduled for next Tuesday.

Sir Jake said the government “is going to have to up its offer.”

He told Talk TV: ‘We need to find a way as a government, and the union as well, to get to that central point, that point of agreement immediately.’

The Royal College of Nursing has promised industrial action on December 15 and 20.

The Royal College of Nursing has promised industrial action on December 15 and 20.

The Royal College of Nursing has promised industrial action on December 15 and 20.

Strikes: This map shows the hospitals where the Royal College of Nursing will hold its first strikes over wages on Thursday 15th and Tuesday 20th December.

Strikes: This map shows the hospitals where the Royal College of Nursing will hold its first strikes over wages on Thursday 15th and Tuesday 20th December.

This map shows the hospitals where the Royal College of Nursing will hold its first wage strikes on Thursday 15 and Tuesday 20 December