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UK nurses prepare to strike

Nurses, who play a key role in the UK’s National Health System (NHS), are preparing to join a wave of strikes launched by multiple sectors demanding a reasonable salary increase in the face of rising cost of living and inflation.

Tens of thousands of nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will go on a two-day collective strike on December 15 and 20.

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In the strike vote of the RCN (Royal College of Nursing), which represents nurses, for the first time in its 106-year history, the vast majority of nurses voted to go on strike.

RCN, which has more than 300,000 members nationwide, is demanding a 19 percent salary increase, while the government argues that this demand cannot be met.

On the other hand, more than 10,000 ambulance personnel and emergency service workers will go on strike on 21 and 28 December in England and Wales due to the wage hike and disagreement over working conditions.

THE NUMBER OF NURSES LEAVING THE PROFESSION IS INCREASING

 

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A study by the University of London School of Economics (LSE) revealed that nurses’ earnings lag behind those of private sector workers, especially when compared to other professions in the UK.

According to the study, nurse salaries decreased significantly from 2010-2011 to 2021-2022, while the annual turnover rate of nurses increased from 8.5 percent to 10.9 percent.

“NURSE’S WORKLOAD HAS BEEN UNSUSTAINABLE”

RCN Union Representative Claire Flatt said in a statement to the AA correspondent on the subject that nursing is a profession that requires extremely skill and is critical in terms of safety.

“Over the last 10 years, nurses in the UK have faced a pay cut of almost 20 percent in real terms, but this strike action is more than just pay,” Flatt said. said.

Stating that there is a shortage of approximately 50,000 nurses in the UK alone and that many experienced nurses have left the profession, Flatt noted that their workload has become unsustainable, leading to inadequate care and compromising the safety of patients.

“GOVERNMENT SHOULD KEEP NURSES IN THE SYSTEM BY VALUING”

Nurse Maria Kublova, who works at University College Hospital in the capital, London, also said that the government should make a fair wage increase for nurses.

“In addition to paying nurses fairly, the government should focus on keeping nurses already in the system and making them stay longer by giving them more value,” Kublova said. used the phrase.

Pointing out that the government has not changed its stance on the wage dispute despite the strike decisions taken by many sectors, Kublova added that she hopes the nurses’ strike will activate the government.

“THE COUNTRY POLICY DOES NOT TRAIN ENOUGH NURSES”

Pakize Durmaz, an experienced nurse working in the NHS, stated that there was a great staff shortage in the nursing profession when she first came to England 20 years ago, adding, “Unfortunately, the country does not train enough nurses here.” made its assessment.

Stating that one of the reasons for this is that training more nurses in England causes high costs, Durmaz stated that it is less costly to bring nurses from abroad.

On the other hand, Durmaz pointed out that the only reason for the nurses’ action to quit their jobs was not the disagreement about the salary increase and continued as follows:

“What happens when there is a shortage of nurses when the workload increases? You cannot provide safe care to patients as you would like, and this puts nurses under a great deal of stress. Nurses are already tired, which makes them think that the government is not listening to them, and thus the safety of patients is also in danger.

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