Leicester hospital staff go on strike

NHS Healthcare Support Workers strike for fair pay (April 2024)
-Credit: (Image: LeicestershireLive)


Staff at Leicester’s three hospitals have gone on strike. Healthcare assistants at Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester General and Glenfield Hospital walked out this morning for the first of three days of strikes, Unison said.

The action has also been coordinated with colleagues at Kettering General and Northampton General which are also led by Richard Mitchell, chief executive of the University of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL). The industrial action is the latest in a long running dispute over pay.

Unison said most of the healthcare assistants routinely undertook clinical tasks, such as taking blood, performing electrocardiogram tests and inserting cannulas. For this work, they should be paid at band three on UHL’s pay scale, it added.

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However, many of them have been paid at band two level. At this point on the pay scale, they should only be providing personal care, such as bathing and feeding patients, the union added.

Unison wants these workers to be regraded to a band three salary. UHL previously agreed to do this, with the current dispute centred around back pay.

The union said these workers should be compensated for the years it says they have worked underpaid.

Julie Hogg, chief nurse at UHL, said the hospitals’ leadership “values the contribution” of these staff members and “recognises the difference they make to patient care”. She added the trust will “continue to engage openly with all unions to reach a fair and equitable resolution as soon as possible”.

East Midlands regional secretary for the union Chris Jenkinson said: “It’s time for the chief executive to realise these NHS workers are in no mood to back down. He should make the healthcare assistants a reasonable offer that addresses years of historical pay inequality.”

Katarzyna, a healthcare assistant at Leicester Royal Infirmary said: “The current back pay offer does not adequately compensate healthcare assistants for the years they worked without being paid properly. All we are asking for is to be fairly paid for the work we have done. No one wants to strike, but staff are determined to get what they deserve.”

Ms Hogg said: "We value the contribution of Health Care Support Workers at UHL and recognise the difference they make to patient care. We have robust plans in place to manage disruption to patient services during the action, and continue to engage openly with all unions to reach a fair and equitable resolution as soon as possible."