More NHS strike action announced

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A second wave of industrial action has been announced by health unions in the ongoing dispute with the Government over NHS pay.

Members of the Society of Radiographers will join NHS workers from ten other unions to take part in a UK-wide strike.

Union members will stop work for four hours on Monday, 24th November and will then work-to-rule for the remainder of that week.

Emergency care will continue to be provided but pre-booked appointments and procedures may be affected, a spokesman said.

“Radiographers who work in the NHS in the four countries of the UK will participate,” said Richard Evans, the society’s chief executive officer.

“We had an overwhelmingly positive response to our last strike. The public were very supportive and understood that this dispute is over more than just a pay rise, its about ensuring the NHS can recruit and retain highly skilled staff to deliver quality healthcare services,” he continued.

The action is being taken by members of the society and other NHS trade unions because pay has not kept pace with inflation, the society said.

The government rejected a recommended 1% pay rise in England for the current year and Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, has said that there will be no increase in 2015. The pay freeze will have been imposed for four out of five years.

“Across the UK members have seen the purchasing power of their pay eroded and quite rightly want to see an end to that with future increases in line at least with inflation.”

“Radiographers will try and keep the effect on patients to a minimum but radiographers and other healthcare workers have got to the stage that they feel there is no alternative,” Richard Evans commented.

“Because of inflation, staff in the NHS have been taking a year-on-year pay cut. Unless we show the government that we are serious about our claim that NHS staff should be treated fairly, they will continue to take advantage of our goodwill,” he continued.

“There is a shortage of radiographers, which already has an effect on the timely delivery of diagnostic examinations and the treatment of cancer, which has direct negative consequences on patients.

“Without reasonable and proper recognition of the work that they do, it is increasingly likely that qualified professionals will leave radiography and it will become even more difficult to recruit the additional people which are needed.”

Other unions taking part are UNISON, the Royal College of Midwives, the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians, the British Association of Occupational Therapists, the GMB, Unite, Managers in Partnership, the Prison Officers Association, the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association and the British Dietetic Association.