Responding to the announcement by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) on strike dates, Matthew Taylor chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“Now that the NHS has the two dates in December for when the RCN intends to facilitate industrial action, health leaders will be reviewing their plans and waiting for confirmation on the specific organisations that will be affected.
“Health leaders understand this may be an uncertain time for many people, including those who routinely rely on the NHS, and that these strikes are coming ahead of what tends to be the busiest time of the year for the service.
“The expectation remains that as a minimum, urgent, emergency and critical care services will continue on strike days and should there be temporary changes to non-urgent aspects of care, such as check-ups and planned procedures, the NHS will make sure this is communicated in advance to patients, prioritising their safety at all times.
“Health leaders also empathise with their workers who feel they have no choice but to go on strike, particularly as most of the other trade unions are heading towards the same outcome with their members.
“This is not a decision that they will have taken lightly and to avoid a prolonged war of attrition, we hope there will be a negotiated resolution of the issues the trade unions have raised without delay.”