Poll shows 72% of Brits say NHS workers are WRONG to strike

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Photo credit: Screen grab RCN London

Almost three quarters of people think NHS workers are wrong to go out on strike, a new poll has indicated. 

A survey carried out by GB News saw 72% say they thought the walkout was wrong. 

3,602 people responded to the channel’s poll on Twitter which comes on the day NHS staff across the country started industrial action.

It’s the largest strike by nurses in the history of the NHS with around a quarter of hospitals and community teams in England alongside all trusts in Northern Ireland and all but one health board in Wales involved.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said they have been left with ‘no choice’ but to take strike action after ministers rejected pay talks.

Health minister Maria Caulfield said around 70,000 appointments, procedures and surgeries will be cancelled in England with thousands more affected in Northern Ireland and Wales.

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 amid reports the British Army is set to step in the event of a strike by NHS workers. Mr Kemp told GB News:

“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.

“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.”

The Royal College of Nursing are in dispute with the Government over pay. Staff will continue to provide “life-preserving” and some urgent care including chemotherapy, emergency cancer services, dialysis, critical care units, neonatal and paediatric intensive care.

Some areas of mental health and learning disability and autism services are also exempt, while trusts have been told they can request staffing for specific clinical needs. Nurses will be working on Christmas Day-style rotas to staff A&E and urgent care.

The RCN has been calling for a pay rise at 5% above inflation, though it has indicated it would accept a lower offer. The UK government said the RCN’s 19% pay rise demand was unaffordable.

RCN chief executive Pat Cullen has accused Health Secretary Steve Barclay of “belligerence” after he refused to discuss the issue of pay.

She said:

“ This is a tragic day for nurses, a tragic day for patients… and it’s a tragic day for the people of society and for our NHS.

“And it’s tragic that this Government has decided not to speak to us, talk to us, get into a room on the first day of strikes, and that’s why we’re here today.”

On the picket line outside St Thomas’ Hospital in Westminster, some nurses were wearing white RCN vests with the slogan “The Voice of Nursing”, while others held placards with messages such as “It’s time to pay nursing staff a fair wage”.

Saffron Cordery, Interim Chief Executive of NHS Providers, said NHS trusts were “pulling out all the stops” to lessen the impact on patients.

She added:

“The cold snap has ramped up demand that was already at or close to record levels, but on strike day NHS trusts will do everything they can to ensure that essential services are properly staffed and patient safety, always the number one 

On Wednesday evening, Mr Barclay said nurses were “incredibly dedicated to their job” and “it is deeply regrettable some union members are going ahead with strike action”.

A number of other workers are also going on strike in disputes over pay, jobs and conditions, with an ambulance worker strike scheduled for next week.

Rail services were cancelled on Wednesday due to a walkout by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, with more stoppages planned in the coming weeks.

The Communication Workers Union is also embroiled in a row with Royal Mail which has led to a series of strikes, with more planned over the festive period.

Other planned strikes include Border Force officers and staff in government departments.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Seems to me the nurses are right to strike. After years with no pay increase and nurses going to food banks what other options are they left with. They are only asking to negotiate. The government says their demands are unaffordable so what is affordable?

    • Insuring national debt not in place, and so cost £11b
      Test Trace, which didn’t work £37b
      Defective PPE £9b
      Minibudget cost £30b
      Cost of Brexit £31b so far
      Total: £118b
      But no money for public sector pay?

    • Other options… Find another job with better pay. If they can’t get a job with better pay then do what the rest of us do and get on with it.

  2. Stop HS2 and there will be enough today fund the important people in this country and not just the construction companies. Or maybe the MP’s should hand back the 28% increase they have received over the last 5 years

  3. What a headline. Ask a load of GB News viewers what they think, and claim it’s a representative sample of public opinion. We all know the kind of people who watch that channel, and they’re barely in touch with reality.
    The bits about the Army are the best. They bang on about the armed forces despite being clueless about what the average squaddie really thinks. Few of them who comment have ever served and it’s shameful of them to think there are soldiers waiting just to do their bidding with no questions asked.

  4. I am happy with the government view. Private sector pay is great. Get paid for skills and hard work. I think nurses will be happy never to strike, public will get all the care they want. So long as they pay at the door and fund nurse income. I will be the first to clap whilst the Government suck your wallet dry to find nurse income

  5. SACK ALL OF THESE UNGRATEFUL SELFISH RENEGADES (ALL OCCUPATIONS) WHO ARE WALLOWING IN Self PITY , AND REPLACE THEM WITH AGENCY STAFF.

    THEY SHOULD ALL BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES.
    WHY SHOULD THE ARMY MOP UP AND WIPE THE BEHINDS OF THESE ATTENTION SEEKERS?
    WHEN THEY ARE CAUSING DEATH AND DESTROYING THE LIVES OF VUNERABLE VICTIMS.

  6. So much talk from both sides…no real action.Surely the NHS Trust management’s are responsible for making the decisions to resolve differences.Those management should justify their high salaries and get on with to the job.Until that is sorted we will not move forward.

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