Nurses at Guy’s and St Thomas’ (GSTT) Hospital are striking over pay this week as part of national industrial action involving 100,000 nurses at 45 hospitals.
On Thursday, December 15, and Tuesday, December 20, “exhausted” nurses will down their scrubs and take to pickets from 7.30am to 8pm.
After rejecting the government’s 4.75 per cent pay offer, they are demanding an above-inflation salary boost of 17.6 per cent.
According to an economist from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, nurses have had a more than ten per cent real terms pay cut since 2010.
An Elephant and Castle learning disability nurse who wished to remain anonymous said: “It would not be my first choice to strike but something has to be done. Change has to be implemented because the government is not thinking about us.
“We are working tirelessly long hours because the NHS is short on staff and during covid some staff decided not to come back because they could earn good money elsewhere.”
When she spoke to the News, she said she was working on a ward requiring ten nurses but they only had five.
According to the NHS Pay Review Body, the medium nurse’s salary is £34,000 but this nurse says she supports her four children on £28,000 despite having five years’ experience.
The Royal College of Nursing, the union organising the strikes, says improving nurses’ pay will stop nurses leaving the profession.
GSTT has said some routine and non-urgent appointments and procedures will be postponed and that they’ll contact patients directly when this happens.
Services like critical care units, chemotherapy services, neonatal and paediatric intensive care units and paediatric A&E will remain open.
“We are communicating directly with all patients who have been affected and will be rearranging their appointments as quickly as possible.”
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said nurses’ demands are “neither reasonable nor affordable” and that its pay offer had been recommended by the independent NHS pay board.
“Despite the immense economic challenges this country faces, we accepted the recommendations of this independent body in full,” he said.
He added: “This means that we are giving over one million non-medical NHS workers a pay rise of at least £1,400 this year, on top of a 3% pay increase last year when wider public sector pay was frozen.”
Nurses at King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Trust are not striking.