Nurses and ambulance workers at Harrogate District Hospital to strike again in February

Nurses and ambulance workers at Harrogate District Hospital are set to strike again in February.
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It follows recent industrial action that has seen some appointments rescheduled and normal service disrupted.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union that work for Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust took part in two days of industrial action for the first time in its history.

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There was a picket line outside the hospital on Lancaster Park Road from 7.15am until 8.15pm.

Nurses and ambulance workers at Harrogate District Hospital are set to strike again in FebruaryNurses and ambulance workers at Harrogate District Hospital are set to strike again in February
Nurses and ambulance workers at Harrogate District Hospital are set to strike again in February

Ambulance workers in Harrogate who are part of the Unite union are on strike today (January 23) and also went on strike in December.

Unless an agreement over pay is reached with the government, members of both unions plan to strike in Harrogate on Monday February 6.

A second day of action by just RCN nurses is planned for Tuesday February 7.

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According to the royal college, 25,000 nursing staff around the UK left the Nursing and Midwifery Council register last year.

It’s left hospitals with staff shortages which the union feels has compromised patient safety.

The union argues that many people are leaving the profession or deciding to work for private providers due to low pay within the NHS.

It has repeatedly called for a pay increase of 5% above inflation.

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However, the government says this increase would be unaffordable to tax payers.

Pat Cullen, RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive said: “We are doing this in a desperate bid to get ministers to rescue the NHS.

"The only credible solution is to address the tens of thousands of unfilled jobs – patient care is suffering like never before.

“My olive branch to governments – asking them to meet me halfway and begin negotiations – is still there – they should grab it.

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“Comprehensive plans were in place to maintain the safety of patients requiring our services during the recent Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN) industrial action.”

A spokesperson for Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust said it worked with the RCN last week to ensure the hospital remained safe for patients.

They said: “We are committed to providing the best possible levels of healthcare in any eventuality, and as ever, during the industrial action our focus had been on maintaining the safety of our patients.

“Whilst it is regrettable that some of our services were affected by industrial action, we ensured that essential services remained available.

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"Whilst we were operating at reduced staffing levels in a number of areas such as inpatient wards, we worked with the RCN to ensure that we had sufficient nursing staff working to maintain patient safety.

“During the industrial action we rescheduled appointments where it has been necessary.

"We worked with the RCN to ensure that our services have remained safe.

“While pay is a matter for government and the trade unions, we greatly value our staff and respect those who have chosen to take part in industrial action.

"We want to see a resolution as soon as possible to ensure we can continue to focus on delivering high quality patient care to all those who need it.”