Petition calling for fair pay for nursing staff signed by 100,000 people
A petition signed by 100,000 members of the public, nursing staff and patients will be delivered to 10 Downing Street on Thursday calling on the Prime Minister to pay nursing staff fairly.
As Rishi Sunak marks his 100th day in office, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) will highlight official NHS data showing the additional pressures the NHS is facing.
Over 10,000 more patients a month are regularly waiting over 12 hours for treatment in A&E since he became Prime Minister, said the RCN.
Other figures show that bed occupancy in adult general and acute care this winter is 9-11% above levels deemed safe, and higher than it was around the same period in the previous year, the college said.
Since the PM took office, nearly 400 extra patients on average each day have been stuck in hospital, unable to access the care they need in the community to return home, and recent data also shows that 6.9 million were waiting for NHS treatment in England as of November 2022 – almost one million more than the previous year.
The RCN is warning the Prime Minister that the NHS is deteriorating rapidly on his watch, impacting the nation’s health and in turn the economy.
Despite promising to make the NHS one of his top priorities, the college says the Prime Minister is yet to even begin to solve the crisis in NHS, adding that in the next 100 days he must start by paying nursing staff fairly to solve the huge workforce vacancies “engulfing” health and care services.
RCN director for England Patricia Marquis said: “Since he took office, the Prime Minister has failed to deliver on his promises to the NHS and is letting it deteriorate rapidly.
“More people are waiting in A&E, more patients are stuck in hospitals unable to access the care at home they need, and bed occupancy rates remain at dangerous levels. People are also having to wait longer to access mental health services when demand has never been greater.
“Patients are not dying because nurses are striking. Nurses are striking because patients are dying.
“Our members have a mandate to take strike action for another 100 days and the Prime Minister would do well to see these strikes for what they are – a warning of the need for swift action.”
Nurse practitioner and RCN member Carmel O’Boyle said: “In the 100 days that Rishi Sunak has been Prime Minister, I’ve treated well over a thousand patients.
“I’ve done dressings, analysed X-rays, given injections and shots, fished glass and dirt out of wounds after a patient has had a fall, treated infections and managed medications.
“I’ve dealt with aggressive patients, people having a mental health crisis and patients with complex learning disabilities who present challenging behaviour. I’ve devised countless diagnosis and treatment plans after a full examination of each patient. I’ve had to impart bad news, and sometimes happier news.
“That’s what I’ve done for the NHS and my patients in the last 100 days in a team that is always short-staffed – what has the Prime Minister done to solve the crisis we’re in?”
RCN members will strike next Monday and Tuesday, while ambulance workers, midwives and physiotherapists will also take industrial action.
Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Patients will understandably be worried by the prospect of further strike action by nurses – the previous two days of nurse strikes saw around 30,000 elective procedures and outpatient appointments cancelled. It is inevitable industrial action will have an impact on patients.
“I have had constructive talks with the Royal College of Nursing and other unions about the 2023/24 pay process and look forward to continuing that dialogue.”