Public urged to use NHS services wisely during nurses strike

Patients and the public are being urged to use NHS services wisely as some nurses walk out across the country this evening.

Royal College of Nursing members in more than 100 NHS organisations will take strike action from 8pm tonight until midnight at the end of Monday in the widest nursing strike to face the NHS so far.

The NHS is warning that the extent of the strike means patients can still expect disruptions and delays to services over the strike period, despite positive and ongoing discussions this weekend securing further safety critical mitigations to the strike coverage.

Dame Ruth May CNO for England said:

“Positive discussions with the RCN this weekend have resulted in a number of national agreements to ensure staff are able to provide direct patient care needed to protect life-and-limb services, covering neonatal ICU, paediatric ICU, intensive care and emergency departments. We are grateful to the RCN for agreeing a process of safety critical mitigations and we continue to support all nurses, those who work and those who take industrial action.

“These mitigations do not represent a return to standard staffing. The industrial action will still have a very significant impact on services during the strike period and patients can expect to see longer waits for care.

“The public should use the NHS wisely, with those needing non-urgent care using pharmacies and 111 online as their first port of call. And if you have a life-threatening emergency, please seek help in the usual way by dialling 999.”