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NHS ‘cannot go on coping’ with more strikes, health leader warns

by Ozva Admin
NHS ‘cannot go on coping’ with more strikes, health leader warns

The NHS is “paying the price” for a decade of austerity and can’t “cope anymore” with a winter of strikes and industrial actionaccording to a senior health leader.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents most health organisations, said the service “managed as well as could be expected” on Wednesday. when thousands of ambulance crews took industrial action for the first time in 30 years. Taylor urged both sides to tone down their rhetoric about him and negotiate in an attempt to prevent further strikes over wages and conditions.

He said: “We will repeat the call, which is to the unions and the Government to move away from rhetoric and take the step towards negotiation. We cannot fall for more and more industrial stocks.”

Taylor said the strikes add to longstanding problems plaguing the NHS. “There are signs of hope looking to the future, but now we are paying the price for those 10 years of austerity, for the delay of Covid, for not addressing those problems,” he said.

“So this winter is going to be incredibly tough. There’s nothing we can do about it. But the industrial action adds to what is already a challenging situation.”

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Taylor also urged the public not to put off seeking treatment. “Nobody really cares if people don’t show up,” she said.

Thousands of members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) went on strike for the second time this week as he continues his campaign for a wage increase of 5 percent above retail inflation, which equates to more than 19 percent. The RCN, along with the three unions whose members were on strike on Wednesday, have threatened to intensify labor action in the new year if wage negotiations are not reopened.

The government has given NHS staff a £1,400 pay increase this year, which equates to an average increase of 4.5 per cent, and said their wage demands are “unaffordable”. Health Secretary Steve Barclay, who has come under fire from unions for suggesting striking healthcare workers “made a conscious decision to inflict harm on patients”, is reported to have considering accelerating an NHS pay rise next year in an attempt to resolve the dispute, but has so far ruled out any move in current wages.

NHS staff often have to wait until the public sector-wide pay review process is complete, usually in the summer, to receive a retroactive raise, despite an independent review body making recommendations in April.

Saffron Cordery, acting chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents hospital and ambulance services in England, said the next few days will be a “challenging time” due to pent-up demand for services after the strikes.

“I think emergency departments in particular are going to feel the strain in those areas where there were strikes, which for ambulance services were everywhere in the country except the east of England,” he said.

“So some real pressure there, pent-up demand, and also the added pressure of reorganizing all those operations and appointments that needed to be postponed.”

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Ms Cordery said the additional demand will hit an NHS where there are already “fundamental levels of staff shortages”, with frontline workers “significantly overstretched”.

“What we have to see now is for the government to come to the table and have a serious discussion and negotiation on salary. because this dispute is about payment and it is also about working conditions and patient safety,” he said.

In a message to ministers, he said there are more than 130,000 vacancies in the NHS and that “we are losing staff due to pay and working conditions, particularly in younger bands.” She said the social care system is also “on its knees”, which has an impact on the NHS by making it more difficult for hospitals to discharge patients into the community.

In a grim assessment of the NHS this winter, Ms Cordery said that “even before the strike, we knew we were in for a difficult time.”

She said: “Demand is very high, staffing levels are not where they should be, and we know we have the flu, which is causing hospitalization levels to rise, we have mental health waiting lists that are skyrocketing, we have Covid coming back now, and we just had a snap cold, so if we have another of those that are going to be added to the pot. So we’re looking at a really difficult situation here.”

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