Today is the second day of a two-day strike by around 10,000 nurses in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

On December 15, nurses went on strike for the first time. The second day of the nurses’ strike comes ahead of an ambulance workers’ walkout on Wednesday.

The Royal College of Nursing and the government are at odds over pay.

In England and Wales, most NHS staff have already received a pay rise of roughly £1,400 this year – worth about 4%, on average, for nurses.

The Royal College of Nursing wants a 19% wage raise, claiming that below-inflation increases are undermining service by making it difficult to attract and retain nurses.

The increase is 5% more than the current RPI inflation rate of 14%.

Steve Barclay, the UK Health Secretary has called pay demands “unaffordable”.

Will Quince, the Health Minister, stated that he will not enter into wage discussions because the government has already accepted the conclusions of an independent pay review.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has told the Daily Mail he will keep reiterating the current offer is “fair and reasonable”.

Speaking to the BBC this morning, Estephanie Dunn, regional director for the Royal College of Nursing said that a request for a 19% pay rise has been made as “nurses are 20% behind in real terms”.

Pat Cullen, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, has stated that unless the government alters its stance, nurses would be forced to strike again in January.

Staff will offer “life-saving” and some urgent treatment, but normal services will most likely be affected.

Over 1,200 military personnel are being summoned to cover striking ambulance staff on Wednesday, to handle less serious calls.

Patients should attend appointments as usual unless they have been notified by the NHS.

How will NHS care be affected?

  • If there is an emergency, call 999 as usual.
  • Some NHS services may be partially staffed.
  • Routine care may be disrupted and you will likely be told about this in advance.
  • Attend any appointments that are in place unless you are informed otherwise.
  • General practice, community pharmacies and dentists are not part of the strike action and are running as normal.

Nurses in Scotland will not be striking today after they called off strike action after an improved NHS pay offer from the Scottish government.

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