Britain’s health workers begin largest strike, putting strain on NHS

Britain’s health workers begin largest strike, putting strain on NHS

Health workers in the United Kingdom reportedly started their biggest strike on Monday, where tens of thousands of ambulance workers and nurses walked out of a burgeoning wage dispute, straining the National Health Service (NHS).

Since late 2022, ambulance workers and nurses have been protesting independently, but Monday's protest including both groups, primarily in England, can be accounted as the largest in the NHS's 75-year record.

According to Stephen Powis, the medical director of the NHS, nurses will observe the strike on Tuesday as well. While the ambulance workers will strike on Friday, physiotherapists will protest on Thursday.

The government argues that the salary increases demanded by the health sector are expensive and would result in further price rises, which would hike mortgage payments and interest rates.

Britain is currently experiencing the greatest inflation rate in forty years.

Since last summer, some 500,000 workers, the majority of them in the public sector, have gone on strike, increasing the pressure on PM Sunak to resolve the dispute and minimize disruptions to essential services, like trains and schools.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) trade union appealed to Sunak over the weekend, pleading with him to make real compensation offers in order to swiftly end the nursing dispute.

The administration, however, asked people to keep using emergency services and to keep going to checkups during the protests unless those appointments had been nixed, but warned that patients might experience delays and disruptions.

For the unversed, the NHS, which is a source of esteem for most Brits, is under enormous strain, with millions of patients on waitlists for surgeries and thousands more added every month failing to get immediate emergency care.

The RCN claims that a decade of poor pay has led to tens of thousands of nurse redundancies, including 25,000 in 2022 alone, which has had a significant impact on patient care.

The RCN had initially requested a wage increase of 5% over inflation and then stated it could meet the state halfway, but after weeks of negotiations, neither party has been able to come to an understanding.

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