Those going on strike could learn a thing or two from the soldiers being placed on standby to step in, former British Infantry Commander Colonel Richard Kemp has said.
Mr Kemp spoke to GB News amid reports the British Army is set to step in the event of a strike by NHS workers.
“The beauty of our Armed Forces is that whatever they’re told to do, they go, and do it and they don’t worry about these sorts of things,” Mr Kemp told GB News.
“Some of them will lose their leave as a result of having to get involved. So, they will suffer personally and indirectly. But nevertheless, as always, they will just get on with it and do it and do their duty for the country.”
“Get on and do your duty and recognise that the country is going through enormous difficulties, and perhaps this isn’t the time to add to their difficulties.”
On whether striking NHS workers could learn something from soldiers, he continued: “I think many nurses could. And many members of the country could learn something from the armed forces too. Get on and do your duty and recognise that the country is going through enormous difficulties, and perhaps this isn’t the time to add to their difficulties.
“I think members of the Armed Forces set a very, very good example for pretty much everybody else when it comes to knowing what your duty is and where your duty lies.”
Mr Kemp’s comments come as it emerged hospitals may not be able to provide key elements of healthcare such as urgent surgery, chemotherapy and kidney dialysis during the forthcoming strikes by nurses.
NHS bosses have said Trusts may also have to stop discharging patients, postpone urgent diagnostic tests and temporarily withdraw services to people undergoing a mental health crisis.
Executives have been warned that industrial action by nurses in their pay dispute with the government could mean that a range of important, and in some cases time-critical, services to seriously ill patients may have to be scaled back or suspended altogether.
NHS England bosses raised that possibility in a letter sent on Monday to hospitals and other care providers ahead of crunch talks with the Royal College of Nursing later this week. At that meeting they will try to agree what areas of care will be hit on Thursday 15 and Tuesday 20 December, and which will continue as normal because they are covered by “derogations” – agreed exemptions to the action.
The letter sets out a list of 12 areas of care and some non-clinical activity in hospitals, such as food supply, which could be affected if agreement is not reached with the nurses’ union.
Eight of those involve direct patient care, three involve support services in NHS trusts and the other involves “system leadership and management to oversee safe care” on strike days.
Both sides are expected to be able to easily agree that nurses will still work as normal to allow the delivery of some clinically important types of care on that list, such as “time sensitive” treatment that involves “immediate lifesaving or limb or organ-saving intervention”.
However, the RCN is unlikely to agree that all eight areas of care proceed as normal. Union officials say there is no guarantee that any of those will definitely be provided.
Source: GB News