Following the news that staff at University Hospitals Birmingham Trust (UHB) have opted to strike for the first time in the Royal College of Nursing (RCN)’s 106-year history; Preet Kaur Gill, MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, has written to David Rosser, Chief Executive of the Trust, to ask about the impact of the anticipated strikes on patient care.
The strikes come as the country heads into Winter with more than 7 million patients on NHS waiting lists, the longest waiting list in history.
While emergency care staffing levels are to be maintained, there are concerns about the impact the strikes will have on non-urgent treatments. These cover everything from mental health services to general surgery, cardiology and internal medicine.
In Preet’s letter to the Trust she outlines how “the latest waiting time statistics [at UHB] show that the percentage of patients being seen within the 18-week target (39.5%) is the second lowest in country, behind only Cambridgeshire Community Services (37%), which sees 40 times fewer patients.”
And Ms Gill goes on to ask, “what reassurance you can provide to my constituents that UHB is taking steps to minimise the disruption this winter, support our valuable nursing workforce as best it can, and to bring waiting lists down?”
Preet Kaur Gill, MP for Birmingham Edgbaston said:
“With the NHS approaching winter with the longest waiting times in its history and record shortages of staff, we must work to avoid further setbacks. Responsibility for that starts with the government but it is also why I wrote to Dr Rosser to ask what action is being taken locally.
“Under this government, the British public now faces the worst access to health services of any country in Europe. It is completely unacceptable, and I am clear that this is no fault of our heroic NHS staff. They are slogging their guts out but there simply isn’t enough of them. That is why the Labour Party has pledged that we will train a new generation of doctors and nurses if we are elected to government.”
Wes Streeting MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said:
“There were no strikes in the NHS during the 13 years when Labour was last in government. If we were in office today, we would be talking with the RCN and doing everything we can to prevent these strikes going ahead.
“Government ministers spent the summer dodging calls and requests for meetings from the Royal College of Nursing. It is unacceptable negligence.
“The Conservatives have stopped governing and it is nurses and patients who will be made to pay the price.”
Read Preet's full letter here: