Responding to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announcement on the significant escalation of strike action, Matthew Taylor chief executive of the NHS Confederation said:
“This announcement from the Royal College of Nursing was expected but is the last thing NHS leaders wanted to see, with many now facing significant disruption to local services. The next round of strikes will be longer and even tougher to manage, with patients likely to face a higher number of cancelled operations.
“NHS leaders will plan for these strikes as they have prepared for all strikes to date. They will work closely with local union representatives to ensure the delivery of safe care and to minimise patient disruption as best as they can. But it is clear that this more intense wave of strike action will be more disruptive than what we have seen so far.
“We have now regrettably drifted into dangerous ‘business as usual’ territory when it comes to strike action. As we feared, this has become a war of attrition that has gone on for far too long, with no end in sight. For the sake of patients, we urge the government and unions to re-start talks and to reach a compromise imminently.”