UPDATE: NHS Strike Action in West Norfolk and Wisbech
7:22am 14th October 2014
(Updated 7:22am 14th October 2014)
It's been revealed that just under half of the staff working yesterday at the East of England Ambulance Service took some form of industrial action.
Around a third of those on duty refused to go to all but the most seriously ill people.
Another 14% went on full strike for 4 hours.
Published Monday 13th October:
For the first time in more than three decades - hundreds of thousands of NHS workers across England are going on strike over their pay.
Unions say morale is at 'rock bottom'.
Midwives are also going on strike – it’s the first time their union has ever taken action over pay.
NHS Pay is set by the government and not local trusts.
Picket lines will be mounted outside hospitals and ambulance stations across West Norfolk and Wisbech until 11am.
Darren Barber represents union members of staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
“The fact of it is that the NHS is struggling. One of the problems here at the QE is that we are trying to get more nurses and doctors to actually come and work here. Well a good pay rise would help that. The MPs are on £100k a year. We are only starting at £14k working all the way up to a band 5 nurse on £27k, that is a big difference.”
He also said that the unions had been working with the hospital because no one on strike wanted to affect patient care or put anyone at risk.
“It’s very hard for any health worker or anyone in the NHS to go out on strike. They do not take this decision lightly. The last time they went out on strike for pay was 1982. Patient safety and midwifery will be as on a normal day service. There will be people there and looking after everyone.”
Paramedics and other Ambulance service staff are also taking strike action for the same reason.
Owen Nichol is a paramedic with the East of England Ambulance Service who works across Wisbech and West Norfolk. He told us that they see a big difference in the way they are treated compated to their 999 collagues.
“I’m not too sure about the police but compared to the fire service, we are paid considerably less than tthem. Our workload is a lot more (I’m not saying they don’t work hard) but we are out far more during a shift than they are. The other thing is that in the eyes of the government we are not seen as an emergency service. We are classed as an essential service so our pensions don’t releft the work we do either. Our pensions are no where near as good as what the police and fire service get.”
If you’re on strike this morning send us your photos of the picket lines and tell us your reasons why you have taken the action. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or get on our facebook or twitter pages.