Hartlepool hospital bosses say they are ready for Monday’s strike action

The University Hospital of Hartlepool

The University Hospital of Hartlepool

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BOSSES at the University Hospital of Hartlepool say they are braced for strike action by workers on Monday.

Members of the Unison, Royal College of Midwives and GMB unions will be taking part in a four-hour walkout from 7am to 11am.

Nurses, healthcare managers, porters, cleaners, medical records staff and healthcare assistants are all set to withdraw labour for a period of the day.

The unions have criticised health secretary Jeremy Hunt, accusing him of refusing to implement the pay review body recommendation on pay in the NHS.

They say the refusal to grant the one per cent rise will affect 60 per cent of health service employees.

Hospital chiefs say they working alongside the unions to minimise any effect to patients.

Barbara Bright, deputy director of human resources and trust board secretary at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have a good relationship with our unions and we are working with them to make sure we can reduce the effect of the strike as much as possible.”

Clare Williams, Unison regional convenor and a health worker, said: “No health worker takes industrial action lightly.

“Year on year we are seeing our pay eroded, while delivering a high standard of care against ever increasing demands with reduced staffing levels.

“Even a straight one per cent increase would be nowhere near enough to meet the massive cost of living increases that NHS staff have coped with since 2010.

“Staff are on average, 10 per cent worse off than when the Coalition came to power.

“The strike is a clear message to this Government to value dedicated NHS staff.

“It is deplorable that the Coalition Government can treat health workers so shoddily.”

Members of the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) will also walk out, with the organisation’s bosses saying calls will be prioritised in order of importance.

Chief operating officer for the NEAS, Paul Liversidge, said: “We recognise the right of our staff to take this action, and understand that the decision is a difficult one for those who choose to take part.

“We expect the strike action to have a considerable impact on our ability to respond to emergency calls and although the strike is only for four hours, we expect it to affect the whole day.

“Our overriding statutory obligation is to provide high quality and safe service to patients and our focus is on taking all reasonable steps to mitigate the consequences of this action.”