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A strike on heavens door: Angels in the NHS stand up and say “enough”

Apr 27, 2023 | News, Opinion | 0 comments

Simon Holborn LLB Assoc. CIPD TechIOSH

The United Kingdom is currently experiencing a surge in strikes among nurses and doctors.  These strikes are a result of justifiable long-simmering resentment for and have highlighted the numerous issues that plague the healthcare sector (and its hard-pressed workforce) in the country. The strikes have led to heated debates and controversies, with various stakeholders weighing in on the matter. 

One of the key issues driving the strikes is poor working conditions. Nurses and doctors in the UK have been grappling with long working hours, poor remuneration, and inadequate staffing levels. This has led to a high rate of burnout among healthcare workers, with many leaving the profession altogether. The strikes aim to bring attention to these issues and to compel the government to take action to improve working conditions for healthcare workers. My question is what else could they have done? They are standing up for our NHS, I am sure they feel bad doing it but they no doubt see that there is no other option open to them.

The strikes aim to pressure the government to increase funding for the NHS and to ensure that healthcare workers have access to the resources they need.

Another issue that has been highlighted by the strikes is the underfunding of the National Health Service (NHS). Over the years, the NHS has been chronically underfunded, with successive governments failing to allocate enough resources to the healthcare sector. This has led to a shortage of staff, lack of essential medical equipment, and long waiting times for patients. The strikes aim to pressure the government to increase funding for the NHS and to ensure that healthcare workers have access to the resources they need to provide quality care. They take this action on our behalf.

Controversies have also arisen around the strikes. Some people argue that healthcare workers should not be allowed to strike because of the critical role they play in society. They argue that strikes by healthcare workers can put patients’ lives at risk and that healthcare workers have a moral obligation to put their patients’ needs first. Others argue that strikes are a legitimate tool for workers to use when they are facing poor working conditions and inadequate pay.

In addition to the controversies, there have been various attempts to cover up or downplay the strikes by the media and the government. Some media outlets have been accused of underreporting the strikes or failing to give them the attention they deserve. 

The government has also been criticised for downplaying the impact of the strikes and for failing to engage in meaningful dialogue with the striking workers.

We at NMCWatch worry about healthcare professionals being pushed past their limit under extraordinary circumstances.

From NMCWatch’s point of view, we are concerned that the cases rise when the system puts good people under pressure. We at NMCWatch worry about healthcare professionals being pushed past their limit under extraordinary circumstances, but as the NHS creaks, we worry that more good, honourable, dedicated professionals are falling foul of the need to provide the best care under intolerable pressure. We talk about second victims, patients (victim 1) suffer from drastically reduced service, and professionals (victim 2) suffer after them. We worry about those in control of a system that is allowing this state of affairs to occur when they have the power to prevent it.

In conclusion, the current strikes across nursing and doctoring in the UK have brought attention to the numerous issues that plague the healthcare sector in the country. They have highlighted poor working conditions, underfunding of the NHS, and the need for better pay and resources for healthcare workers. While controversies and attempts to cover up or downplay the strikes have arisen, the strikes continue to be an important tool for healthcare workers to advocate for better working conditions and patient care. It is essential that the government takes meaningful action to address these issues and to ensure that healthcare workers are treated fairly and with the respect they deserve.

Simon is helping to design the NMCWatch Advocacy Program. He leads on representation for those going through FtP, with a small team of NMCWatch members dedicated to supporting our most vulnerable members. He leads on employment law, HR issues and NMC investigation support. Simon has a unique skill set having worked as a police officer, a nurse and a lawyer. He has been with NMCWatch from the beginning, supporting Cathryn with her vision and helping mould the group to where it is today. He is calm in a crisis but also honest about potential outcomes. 

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