Letter to the Prime Minister : escalating industrial action in the NHS

Matthew Taylor and Lord Victor Adebowale wrote to the Prime Minister imploring him to negotiate with health unions on pay as strikes escalate.

17 February 2023

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In December, the NHS Confederation wrote to the Prime Minister on the eve of the first ambulance strike calling on him to negotiate meaningfully on pay to see industrial action end.

With the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announcing the escalation of strike activity next month, with a three day strike due to run from 1st to the 3rd March, Matthew Taylor and Lord Victor Adebowale have written to him again to say he must choose between settling his government’s escalating dispute with the trade unions on NHS pay, or wave goodbye to his pledge to reduce waiting lists and make sure people get the care they need more quickly.

In January, the Prime Minister set out his five priorities for 2023 - including the pledge that “NHS waiting lists will fall and people will get the care they need more quickly”.

With over 141,000 appointments and procedures already having had been postponed in response to the 12 strikes that have taken place since December, the letter set out that the ongoing standstill between both sides is not compatible with the commitment to recover services after the pandemic.