10 / 10 / 2014 3pm
NHS Employers has today urged staff thinking of taking strike action on Monday 13 October to think again and not draw patients into the argument between the government and trades unions over pay.
Rob Webster, chief executive of the NHS Confederation (of which NHS Employers is a part), said:
“We are working through some of the toughest times in the history of the NHS. Throughout this long period of pay restraint and pressure on services, employers have always sought constructive discussions with unions and the Government to find a way out of this situation together. We hope progress is still possible.
“We are seeing the NHS finding it difficult to manage its finances this year and staff under pressure. A pay award for all staff on top of increments would have cost £450 million more - the equivalent of 14,000 newly qualified nurses. Hard-pressed staff would have been put under greater pressure or may have had to be reduced. Restraining pay was a tough decision for politicians to make and I believe they did it on the basis of improving the quality of care and maintaining continuity of services.
“Ahead of Monday, employers are pulling out all the stops to minimise disruption to patients and unions are co-operating with this planning ahead of the strike to ensure patients remain safe. I know that thousands of patients will already be anxious because important NHS services, such as ambulance cover, will be under additional pressure on the day and during the week of action short of a strike that will follow it. If appointments have to be rescheduled this would cause unnecessary distress and we urge staff to reconsider taking part in the strike.
“Only around four percent of more than one million NHS staff voted to take strike action on Monday. We hope many will make the right choice for patients and not participate in any industrial action, which risks more inconvenience to patients and difficulty planning emergency and acute care.”
Notes for editors:
- The NHS Employers organisation is the recognised body for employers in the NHS, supporting them to put patients first. See www.nhsemployers.org for more information.
- On Twitter follow NHS Employers at @nhsemployers or Rob Webster at @NHSConfed_RobWA full list of NHS Employers press releases and statements can be accessed at our Media Centre.
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