November 26, 2022

The Royal College of Nursing has announced that its members will hold their first national walkout on 15 and 20 December

Plymouth NHS nurses are set to join colleagues across the UK in two days of strike action next month in a dramatic escalation of the pay dispute roiling the NHS. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has announced that its members will hold their first ever national walkout on 15 and 20 December. University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust was one of the places where nurses voted for strike action and it is expected a number of workers at Derriford Hospital may join the picket line.

The RCN said it was launching strikes after the UK government rejected its offer of formal and detailed negotiations as an alternative to industrial action. The strikes will take place in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The RCN said it will announce which specific NHS employers will strike next week when formal notices are submitted.

Earlier this month, the RCN announced that healthcare staff at most NHS employers in the UK had voted to take strike action over pay and patient safety. The RCN said that despite a pay rise of around £1,400 handed out in the summer, experienced nurses are 20% worse off in real terms due to successive under-inflation awards since 2010.

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said: “Ministers have had more than two weeks since we confirmed that our members felt such injustice that they will strike for the first time. My offer of formal negotiations was refused and ministers chose to strike instead. They have the power and the means to stop this by opening serious discussions to address our dispute.

“Nursing staff are tired of being taken for granted, enough of low pay and unsafe staffing levels, enough of not being able to give our patients the care they deserve.” The RCN said the economic case for paying health staff fairly was clear when billions of pounds were spent on agency staff to cover workforce gaps.

It added that 25,000 UK medical staff had left the Nursing and Midwifery Council register in the past year, with poor pay contributing to staff shortages in the UK, which it warned were affecting patient safety.

There are 47,000 registered nurse vacancies in the NHS in England alone, the RCN said. The college claims polls have shown overwhelming public support for nurses receiving a bigger pay rise as well as the right to take industrial action.

Other health unions are also voting workers for industrial action, while ambulance staff in Scotland are due to walk out on Monday. A ballot among hundreds of thousands of Unison members closes on Friday and among Unite’s NHS members next week.

Midwives and physiotherapists are also voting to strike, while a junior doctor ballot opens in the new year. Health unions have warned for months that workers are quitting in large numbers over pay and low morale, leading to staff shortages in hospitals and other parts of the NHS.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “I am extremely grateful for the hard work and dedication of nurses and deeply regret that some members of the union will be taking industrial action.

“These are difficult times for everyone and the economic circumstances mean that the RCN’s demands, which in current figures represent a 19.2% pay rise costing £10 billion a year, are not affordable.

“We have prioritized the NHS with an extra £6.6bn on top of previous record funding and accepted the recommendations of the independent NHS Pay Review Body to give nurses a fair pay rise of at least £1,400 pounds this year. This means that a newly qualified nurse will typically earn over £31,000 a year – with many senior nurses earning much more than this – they will also receive a pension contribution of 20% of salary.

“Our priority is keeping patients safe. The NHS has tried and tested existing plans to minimize disruption and ensure emergency services continue to operate.”

Wes Streeting, shadow health secretary, said: “Why on earth is the health secretary refusing to negotiate with nurses? Patients already cannot be treated on time, a strike is the last thing they need, yet the Government allows it. Patients will never forgive the Conservatives for this negligence.

“First the Government refused to talk to the health unions all summer, now they refuse to negotiate. If the Tories have given up government, they should stand aside for Labour.

“There were no strikes in the NHS in the 13 years of the last Labor government and the cavalry is coming with the next Labor government. We will abolish non-doms to launch the biggest expansion of medical training in history, giving the NHS the staff it needs so nurses are not overworked and patients are seen on time.”

List of NHS trusts where nurses have voted for strike action

The list below shows the areas in England where a strike ballot passed for the first strike in a century earlier this month, the Mirror reports.

However, the exact strike dates at each hospital have yet to be announced – they are still being discussed between local union leaders and each hospital trust. Unlike other strikers, nurses must hold careful discussions to ensure patients are not put at risk by their industrial action.

In theory, this could mean, for example, that the strikes are “staggered” in a particular city, so that staff at the western hospital only down tools on December 15, and staff at the eastern hospital don’t leave until the 20th December. Or staff at some hospitals might strike on both dates, while staff at others strike on neither.

“On a day of strike, our nurses will not abandon their patients,” general secretary Pat Cullen told BBC Breakfast. “We will continue to maintain live preservation services on those days, but of course there will be disruptions.”

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East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust

NHS Derby and Derbyshire ICB (Joined Up Care Derbyshire)

NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire ICB

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust

Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

University Hospitals of Nottingham NHS Trust

Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust


Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

University Hospital Cambridge NHS Foundation Trust

Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

NHS Hertfordshire and West Essex ICB

NHS Mid and South Essex ICB

NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB

NHS Suffolk and North East Essex ICB


Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust

Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust

St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

NHS North Central London ICB

NHS South West London ICB

The NHS resolution


Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust

Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust

Liverpool Heart and Chest NHS Hospital found trust

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Clatterbridge NHS Cancer Center found confidence

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

Wrightington Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust

Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust

Midlands and Lancashire CSU

Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS found trust

Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust

Central Cheshire Integrated Care Partnership

St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

Walton Center NHS Foundation Trust

Health Education England

NHS Cheshire and Merseyside ICB

NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB

Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust


North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust

Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

North of England CSU (NECS)

South East

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust

South East Coast Ambulance Service

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

NHS Kent and Medway ICB

NHS Surrey Heartlands ICB

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

Solent NHS Trust

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust


Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Devon Partnership NHS Trust

South West NHS Ambulance Service found trust

Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

North Bristol NHS Trust

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust

University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust

Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT)

Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust

Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust

Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust

University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

Somerset NHS Foundation Trust

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust

NHS Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire ICB (BSW together)

NHS Devon ICB (One Devon)

NHS Dorset ICB (Our Dorset)

NHS Gloucestershire ICB (One Gloucestershire)

West Midlands

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust

The Royal Orthopedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust

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