Thousands of nurses strike again as experts warn the NHS is stuck in a rut | The Sun02/08/2023
THOUSANDS of nurses went on strike again yesterday as experts warned the NHS is stuck in a rut until the staff crisis is fixed.
The Royal College of Nursing ended a two-day walkout on Tuesday night with nearly 150,000 appointments now cancelled by strikes.
Health buffs say the health service cannot improve until it has more manpower.
The Institute of Fiscal Studies warned the waiting list of 7million people will “flatline” this year.
And MPs on the Public Accounts Committee said plans to reform local health boards are “paralysed”.
Pat Cullen, general secretary at the RCN, threatened to continue strikes until May without a pay rise from ministers.
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Full list of NHS hospitals where nurses are on strike today
Hospitals to axe 65k appointments this week as NHS reels from biggest strike
She said: “We need to get back into hospitals and start treating our patients.
“Nurses tell me they don’t want to have to leave but may have no choice if we don’t get this Government to come down to a table.”
Today will be the only day this week with no NHS strike, with around 2,000 physiotherapists walking out tomorrow.
The pay row is blocking efforts to cut the surgery waiting list, which surged from 4m to 7m during the pandemic.
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Hospitals need to do a third more ops than in 2019 to make a real dent in the queue this year – but did fewer each month for most of last year, the IFS said.
Max Warner, author of the report, said: “To turn things around would require unprecedented growth in treatment volumes – it is likely that the waiting list will flatline rather than fall over the coming year.”
Meanwhile the Public Accounts Committee said plans to join up social care and NHS clinics under integrated care systems will fail until the current crisis is solved.
Committee chair Dame Meg Hillier said: “Changes will not succeed if they are imposed on the NHS in its current state.
“Government needs to get a grip on the wider, full-blown health and social care crisis.”
NHS England said dozens of new surgical hubs and theatres mean 780,000 extra operations will go ahead this year as part of its plan to clear the backlog.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: “These new surgical hubs speed up access to treatment for hundreds of thousands of patients up and down the country.”
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