The NHS’ financial crisis has resulted in ongoing industrial action with demands for pay increases. NHS nurses are experiencing the worst living costs pressure. The Conservative-led government has let down the NHS but has also lost popularity. Although the recent NHS pay offer stopped the bank holiday strike, future walkouts are possible.
NHS Addresses Health Inequalities
The National Health Service has a vital role in the health quality of the UK society. The NHS is responsible for helping and improving people’s health and wellbeing. It addresses health inequalities by providing services and supports across the UK. The NHS is a complex system of hospitals, primary care, and community services. The NHS is a source of dignity for Britons; however, it is in crisis due to financial factors.
UK Government Failed to Address Financial Crisis
The NHS workers across the UK have been dissatisfied with their pay as the cost-of-living crisis hit them. The Conservative-led government must tackle the financial crisis, which caused enormous problems for the NHS staff. Doctors, nurses, midwives, care workers, and ambulance drivers are the NHS staff who have participated in several industrial actions. They have gone on strikes for over six months and demanded a fair pay rise.
NHS Strikers Demand Fair Pay
The rising living costs hit the NHS staff hard, increasing anxiety and decreasing interest in work. They have been under damaging results and financial pressure. The healthcare workers have held several strikes while cancelling non-emergency healthcare services. The NHS staff demanded higher pay as the pay offer was far below the 10% inflation rate. The Conservative-led government attempted to cap the pay increase but risked nationwide strikes.
NHS Nurses Planned Bank Holiday Strike
For the first time in 106 years, on December 15 last year, nurses across the UK went on strike over pay disputes. However, the Conservative-led government increasingly refused to reopen negotiations about their pay increase. Nurses in England held more strikes on 18 and 19 January and 6 and 7 February. The NHS nurses in England planned a bank holiday strike in May, which is the largest walkout, so far.
NHS Nurses Want Clarity from Ministers
The nursing unions intensified the action to gain a good offer from ministers. Nevertheless, the UK government reacted inefficiently to the NHS crisis and the nurses’ case. Clarity was missing from the UK government, and nurses again went on strike during the first May bank holidays. Ministers have criminalised the nurses’ walkouts rather than agreeing with the pay rise. Most nurses were critical of the government’s pay rise offers and planned more strikes on bank holidays.
What Is the New NHS Pay Offer?
Nurses play a crucial role in caring services at the NHS, and they are the largest NHS workforce. They complete and finalise care services of all the NHS sections. However, ministers have repeatedly rejected reopening talks with the nursing unions or the other NHS workers. Finally, Health Secretary Steve Barclay has announced a 5% pay rise, up from the original 3.5%, for the nurses and ambulance workers.
Nursing Is a Critical Part of the NHS
The ministers went around the negotiation table and promised a rise, but some unions remain in dispute with the government. After the bank holiday strike on May 1, some unions have rejected the pay offer and warned of future industrial action. The blocks wanted to secure a better offer than what was accepted by the other unions. Nurses provide vital services, and the other members and staff of the NHS cannot replace them.
Government Tries to Silence Nurses
The Conservative-led government must be more competent to manage the NHS and protect the workforce. The health secretary issued an ultimatum to nurses, and their bank strike ended earlier on the last bank holiday. Steven Barclay launched a high court battle with the nursing unions over industrial action. However, it ended in higher popularity of the nurses, and the union plans for more strikes despite the new NHS pay offer.
Scotland’s Government Manages More Competently
The devolved government of Scotland acted more competently and prevented further industrial action in March. The unions accepted the pay offer, which means staff will receive at least a 6.5% pay increase. Over two years, many nurses will receive a consolidated 13 to 14% pay rise in the next two years. The Scottish government have already reached deals with the other public workers and could avert more strike actions. That illuminates critical differences between the governments in Edinburgh and London.
Austerity Policies Destroyed Economy
The ongoing waves of NHS strikes expose the incompetency of the Conservative-led government. A decade-long austerity of the Conservative government since 2010 has hit the public services. The Conservative Party has claimed abstinence would help restructure the economy and promote growth. Nonetheless, a study shows that austerity undermined the UK’s wages and job security. The Conservative Party’s austerity weakened the bargaining position of labour and has not resulted in higher business investment.
UK Government Is Incompetent
The austerity policies have been a failure, and all public services experienced a decade of underfunding and low pay. The government needs to be more competent in every policy era and provide adequate social security support for Britons. Most Conservative voters believe the party could not manage the NHS in the past decade. Throughout the decade-long Conservative ruling, the UK population have experienced continuing disruption of health, education, and social care services.
Government Must Solve NHS Issues
It is good to mention that the incompetency of the Conservative-led government is broader than payment issues. The social services in general, and the NHS in particular, are generally underfunded. Lower budget puts pressure on hospitals and put patients’ lives at risk. The NHS cannot retain the staff and cannot provide adequate health services to the patients. The NO 10 officials must not hide, but they should solve the more significant NHS issues.
Labours Could Easily Win Over Conservatives
The UK government underinvests the NHS, and the Conservative ministers must be held to account. The more the Conservative-led UK government persists in its financial policies, the more it loses popularity. The Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer has previously accused the Conservatives of jeopardising the NHS. If the Labours seize the opportunity and present an influential manifesto, they will win the next general election.