NHS strike: King George ‘treating patients as normal’
- Credit: Archant
The trust that runs King George Hospital has said it is treating “all patients as normal”, despite an ongoing four-hour strike by NHS staff.
Ambulance staff, as well as midwives, nurses and hospital porters walked out at 7am this morning as part of a national strike over pay.
But a spokesman for Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), which also runs Queen’s in Romford, said: “We have plans in place to deal with it.
“We’re treating all patients as normal. If we do incur any delays, we’ll obviously apologise.”
Unions are protesting at the government’s decision not to accept the independent pay review body’s recommendation to award a one per cent pay rise to all staff.
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Redbridge Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, Cllr Wes Streeting, said he backed the action.
“This is the first time that the Royal College of Midwives has gone on strike and the first strike by NHS staff over pay in 30 years,” said Cllr Streeting, who is also deputy leader and Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Ilford North.
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“We have real challenges in terms of recruitment and retention of key NHS staff, which is fuelling the NHS crisis, and it’s not hard to see why.
“The government found the money for tax cuts for the wealthiest, but can’t find money to pay nurses and midwives fairly. They’re standing up for the wrong people.”
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “We absolutely will talk to the unions, we’ve been prepared to talk to them throughout this. We will talk to them if they’re prepared to look to reform the system of increments, which is unclear and unfair.
“I recognise frontline staff do a magnificent job in the NHS. We have had more than 650 NHS volunteers who are willing to put themselves in harm’s way to help tackle the Ebola crisis in West Africa.
“We have magnificent people.
“We’re offering them all a one per cent rise. The majority of NHS staff get an automatic three per cent increment but we can’t afford to give a one per cent rise to people already getting that.”
The walk-out is set to end at 11am this morning, but disruption could continue for much of the rest of the day.