Dozens of appointments rescheduled at Wigan’s hospitals due to nurses' strike
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NHS leaders warned strike action was making it “more difficult” to tackle the backlog of care as thousands of acute care appointments across the country were cancelled during the Royal College of Nursing's 28-hour strike.
Charlotte McArdle, NHS England’s deputy chief nurse, said: “Across the NHS we have now seen more than half a million appointments and procedures rescheduled over the last six months as a result of strikes from staff in a range of NHS roles – and with each strike, it is becoming harder.
“Our staff are doing all they possibly can to manage the disruption and deliver rescheduled appointments as quickly as possible, but there’s no doubt that each round of industrial action makes it more difficult for the NHS to tackle the backlog.”
Across England, at least 7,600 appointments were cancelled and rescheduled in acute care. But out of 136 NHS trusts, only 44 recorded appointments needing to be rescheduled.
The data shows at least 5,000 staff joined picket lines on May 1, but many hospitals did not report workforce figures so the number is likely much higher.
At WWL, 136 staff members were recorded as absent on May 1 due to strike action.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay warned the RCN the deal which most unions accepted was the “final offer”.
However, the union vowed to ballot members later this month and warned strikes could take place across all of NHS England between June and December.
The Government is currently offering a five per cent pay rise plus a one-off sum of at least £1,655.
An RCN spokesperson said the impact on patients was the "hardest part" and nursing staff were apologetic about the individual patients affected.
"We are taking this action, however, because everyday nursing staff and patients are suffering as staff shortages affect patient safety," they added: “Patients and the public know that and their support is appreciated and not taken for granted."
They said the campaign has “always been about patients and a safe NHS".