Thousands of nurses are on strike over the continued dispute over pay, for Wednesday and Thursday and there will be larger strikes in February.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) will hold more strikes next month and the GMB union are set to announce further strikes for ambulance workers.
Pat Cullen, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that the NHS are not delivering the minimum staffing levels and this “flies in the face” of new anti-strike laws.
Cullen said, “Minimum staffing levels are not available for our patients or our nurses on any day of the week.
“So to try and suggest that we’re going to have minimum staffing levels on days of industrial action is just so far removed from reality, and in fact it is a total insult to our patients and to nurses – it just doesn’t happen.
“You cannot have minimum staffing levels with 47,000 unfilled posts. So, I do not know how this government’s going to do this.
“We have campaigned year on year for a minimum staffing level to be put in place – safe staffing legislation to protect our patients and to ensure that our brilliant nurses can do their jobs and continue to provide safe care and treatment, but they cannot continue to do that with 47,000 unfilled posts.”
Cullen added, “I would say to the Prime Minister this morning: If you want to continue to have strikes, then the voice of nursing will continue to speak up on behalf of their patients and that’s exactly what you will get.”
She said staff “are working in a crisis every single minute of the day,” adding that ignoring this, is “living in a parallel universe.”
Cullen added, “We will only recruit and retain our nurses if we pay them a decent wage so that they can continue to work in the health service and not have to leave to other jobs that will give them two or three pounds an hour more so they can pay their bills.”