NHS crisis: Great Ormond Street Hospital declares ‘incident’ ahead of nurses’ strike
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Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) has declared an ‘incident’ ahead of the nurses’ strike that takes place this weekend as it calls for exemptions for emergency care. The world-renowned London children’s hospital said it had “no choice” but to “protect” its patients.
Nurses in the Royal College of Nursing union will be missing from emergency treatment throughout the strike, which will go from April 30 to May 1. This follows a warning from St Thomas’ Hospital that it would have a “significantly reduced” service in A&E.
Mat Shaw, Chief Executive of GOSH, said: "We respect the right of our staff to take part in lawful industrial action, but after exhausting all options, at the moment we have serious concerns over how we will safely staff our hospital during the strike.
"There is nothing more important than the safety of our patients and so we have no choice but to declare a business continuity incident. These children have no voice in the debate and we must protect them. We urgently need safety exemptions for our intensive care units and other areas of the hospital."
RCN members went on strike earlier this month after rejecting a government offer for England of a 5% pay rise for 2023-24 and a one-time payment of at least £1,655 to top up last year’s income, depending on staff grade. The union announced that 54% of its members had rejected the offer.
NHS nurses in emergency rooms, intensive care units, cancer wards, and other wards will participate in the walkout. They have previously walked out twice this year, on February 6 and 7, and January 18 and 19, although there were exemptions, so nursing coverage was maintained in key areas.
The union members initially proposed a 48-hour strike but this was cut short by a day after a High Court judge ruled it was partly unlawful. The judge ruled the RCN’s six-month mandate for strike action would have lapsed by Tuesday (May 2).
RCN chief Pat Cullen said this was "the darkest day" of the dispute so far and the government needed to negotiate. She previously said the union was looking for a "significantly improved" offer "as soon as possible" in order to prevent strike action.