NHS nurses will go on strike for two days in December over pay and patient safety.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) will walk out in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland on December 15 and 20.

Industrial action in Scotland has been halted while pay negotiations continue.

READ MORE: HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF NHS NURSES TO GO ON STRIKE

The RCN’s strike ballot, which included over 300,000 members, was the largest in the union’s 106-year history.

The union has demanded a 17 percent pay increase for its members, claiming that years of low pay are “pushing nursing staff out of the profession and putting patient care at risk.”

READ MORE: 100,000 UK CIVIL SERVANTS TO GO ON STRIKE OVER PAY, JOB CUTS AND PENSIONS

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said: “My offer of formal negotiations was declined, and instead ministers have chosen strike action.

“Nursing staff have had enough of being taken for granted, of low pay and unsafe patient levels, of not being able to provide the care our patients deserve.”

The health secretary praised nurses’ hard work and dedication while expressing regret that some will go on strike.

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Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: “These are challenging times for everyone, and the economic circumstances mean the RCN’s demands, which on current figures are a 19.2 percent pay rise costing £10 billion per year, are not affordable.”

The RCN is requesting a raise based on the RPI inflation rate (14.2 percent in October) plus five percent.

NHS staff in England and Wales have received an average pay increase of 4.75 percent this year; in Scotland, the offer was a flat rate of just over £2,200; and in Northern Ireland, no pay award can be approved unless an Executive is in place.

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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who previously served as health secretary, has expressed “great sympathy” for nurses struggling with the cost of living but believes the best way to assist them is to reduce inflation.

According to data from the London School of Economics, salaries for experienced nurses have fallen by 20 percent in real terms over the last decade. This effectively means that nurses are

This is consistent with recent research from the health charity Nuffield Trust, which found that NHS staff pay would remain lower in real terms in 2021/22 than it was in 2010/11.

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Nursing vacancies in England reached a record 47,000 between April and June, a 5 percent increase over the previous year.

According to the RCN, 25,000 nursing staff in the UK left the Nursing and Midwifery Council register in the previous year.

This summer, MPs on the cross-party Health and Social Care Committee described the NHS’s staffing problems as “the greatest workforce crisis” in the organization’s history.

The union blames not only low pay but also excessive workloads.

Source: Sky News

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