Responding to the news that the RCN and GMB will both hold strikes on 6th February, Matthew Taylor chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“This escalation takes us deeper in to the situation NHS leaders have been warning against – a war of attrition between the government and unions spanning several months at a time when NHS services are seeing unprecedented pressures.
“Health leaders will now be intensifying plans and preparations for the combined strike of nurses and ambulance workers next month, which will pose a more significant challenge to services than the industrial action we have seen to date. They will continue to work closely with local union representatives to ensure the delivery of safe care and to minimise patient disruption.
“We’re increasingly concerned about the cumulative impact of strike days and record demand – the longer this vicious cycle continues the longer it will take for the NHS to tackle the elective backlog.
“Leaders across the NHS are getting increasingly frustrated with the impasse we seem to have reached – in spite of record demand for care and ongoing industrial action November was one of the most productive months for the NHS on record. Our members want to see government come to the table with unions to engage meaningfully on pay so that this situation can be resolved.”