UPDATED: 12-hour walkout by NHS staff suspended

NHS staff have been striking as part of ongoing disputes over pay
NHS staff have been striking as part of ongoing disputes over pay

NHS staff have postponed a planned walk-out for 12 hours this Thursday as a pay proposal has been put forward by government.

Health workers were due strike from 9am to 9pm, with ambulance staff planning to join the picket lines from noon to midnight and radiographers between 8am and 2pm.

The industrial action was to be followed by weeks of ‘work to rule’ protest – in which staff would take full breaks and refuse unpaid overtime – between this Friday and February 24. Another full strike, this time for a 24-hour day, would thenh have take place on Wednesday, February 25.

Members of trade unions including Unison, Unite and GMB have already taken two four-hour stoppages in October and November.

This third round of action has now been called off following a pay proposal put forward by the government.

Unison head of health and the unions’ lead negotiator, Christina McAnea said: “The two strike days staged by health workers last year have moved the government to negotiate with the unions.

“This isn’t a great offer but it addresses some of the key concerns unions have about low pay in the NHS. In the interest of patients’ safety unions will now consult members.

“It will be up to members to decide whether to accept or reject the proposals. If they choose to reject them we will move to further industrial action.” A spokesman for the West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust – which covers Hemel Hempstead, Watford and St Albans hospitals – said while strike action was threatened: “As you would expect, our overriding priority is to ensure that our services continue to run safely and that the strikes do not compromise the care we provide to our patients and their families.

“As such, we have been working closely with our unions to understand the impact the strikes might have on our hospitals.

“We have developed robust plans for the strike and anticipate that it will be business as usual across our hospitals, i.e. we are not planning to cancel appointments or operations.”

Patients are asked to attend their appointments as normal.
Further updates will be posted on the Trust’s website at www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk and via its Twitter account, @WestHertsNHS.

Patients can contact the patient advice and liaison service (PALS) on 01923 217 198 or email pals@whht.nhs.uk with any queries.