Labour has blasted the government accusing them of being “irresponsible” for not wanting to “negotiate” with nurses.
For the first time in the 106-year history up to 100,000 members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) are set to strike this month.
The nurses will strike on Thursday, 20 December over a pay dispute and patient safety, warning that “more people will die.”
Speaking to Sky News, the shadow health secretary Wes Streeting MP accused the government of “not having a plan for the NHS this winter.”
Streeting said that the government are blaming “nurses and paramedics for an NHS crisis which is squarely the fault of a Conservative government and 12 years of mismanagement.”
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The Labour MP added, “It is completely unreasonable for the government not to want to negotiate.”
Dr Emma Runswick, deputy chair of the British Medical Association council, who is the trade union for doctors warned, “I do think more people will die.”
She added to Sky News, “But currently, the government won’t even speak to us.”
The government are saying that there is an independent pay review body who negotiates with nurses.
The foreign secretary James Cleverly rejected their claims that the Health Secretary will not talk with the nurses and said that Steve Barclay’s “door was always open” for discussions.
The RCN are calling for a pay rise of at least 17%, but Cleverly said that independent pay bodies are apolitical and that “the government has accepted their recommendation fully” and a 19.2% rise will cost around £10 billion, and Cleverly said that “we have to be sensible with our expenditure.”
Streeting warned that “patients will rightly blame the government, not the unions, if these strikes go ahead” and accused the government of “spoiling for a fight.”
Ambulance staff will strike on 21 and 18 December and junior doctors will walk out on 9 January which will affect thousands of operations and will affect the quality of care patients will receive.
On top of the nurses, ambulance staff and junior doctors, five more unions are balloting for strike which affects, midwives, physios and hospital porters.