'A job I love, but I need to pay bills': Thousands of British nurses strike over healthcare crisis

Tens of thousands of nurses across England and Wales walked out Wednesday in a new protest over pay and patient safety, with no end in sight to a wave of strikes that has piled pressure on the overburdened public health system.

About a quarter of hospitals and clinics in England will be affected by the two 12-hour nursing strikes on Wednesday and Thursday. Emergency care and cancer treatment will continue, but thousands of appointments and procedures are likely to be postponed.

With more walkouts by nurses planned for next month (with Northern Ireland and Scotland likely to join) — and ambulance workers announcing a new slate of February strikes — the conservative government is under growing pressure to lift its opposition to salary increases for healthcare staff amid skyrocketing inflation.

Inflation in the UK hit a 41-year high of 11.1 percent in October, driven by sharply rising energy and food costs, before easing slightly to 10.5 percent in December.

Nurses are also sounding the alarm about patient safety at the overstretched National Health Service (NHS).

Worst staffing crisis since 1948

But the strike is also about patient safety: Yusuf Mahmud Nazir, 5, died from pneumonia after being sent home, despite a doctor describing his tonsillitis as the worst he had ever seen.

Which patient to admit?

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