As the threats of industrial action continues to become a stark reality across the health sector, NHS Confederation and NHS Providers have written to the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urging the Government to negotiate pay awards and outlining their concerns about patient safety.
The letter was written ahead of today’s ambulance strikes and was co-signed by NHS Confederation’s Chair, Lord Victor Adebowale, NHS Confederation’s Chief Executive, Matthew Taylor, NHS Providers’ Chair, Sir Ron Kerr, and NHS Providers’ Interim Chief Executive, Saffron Cordery.
The letter emphasises how the decision to strike by health professionals wouldn’t have been taken lightly, before highlighting how the industrial action isn’t just about pay but working conditions too.
The letter draws attention to how, given the more-than 130,000 vacancies across the NHS as well as the seven million-plus patients still on waiting lists, “this concern is more than understandable.”
The health leaders warn of the “deep worry” they are seeing amongst peers ahead of the strikes and how they’ve “rarely heard such strong and urgent expressions of concern from those running our hospitals, ambulance services and other vital health services.”
The letter urges the Government to put a “swift end” to the strikes before further industrial action causes the situation to spiral. It reads: “We urge you to do all you can to bring about an agreed solution, otherwise more members of the public will suffer unnecessarily.”
The health leaders say they hope their plea helps to focus the minds in government and finishes by extending an open invitation to a private roundtable, where the Prime Minister, his advisors, and a group of health representatives can discuss the situation further.
To read the full letter, click here.