Why patients are supporting the NHS strike on Monday

NHS workers in England will be striking for the second time on Monday, 24 November, and taking action short of a strike for the rest of that week. 

And as there was last month, when they took strike action over pay for the first time in 32 years, there will undoubtedly be strong support for their industrial action among patients.

Andy Harris from Buckinghamshire said: “The exceptional thing about the NHS is the staff – the care they give you, the knowledge they have, the way they identify with you as people.

“There are a number of funding issues for the NHS and pay is one of the most important ones. So I absolutely support the pay campaign.

“The way I see it, if you work in the private sector and you don’t like your pay, you look for another job with better pay.

“That’s not an option for people working in the NHS. People don’t go into the public sector for the money, but because of their passion and love for the job. To then shortchange them is just unfair.”

Anne McCormack from Merseyside said: “The pay strike is not a sudden thing.

“They [NHS staff] have suffered and struggled through pay cuts and reductions in terms and conditions for four years, putting up with it because they really care about the patients.

“Only now are they taking strike action, because they are at the end of their tether.”

Ben, from London said: “If you don’t pay people a decent wage for what they are doing, they are not going to be as motivated. It’s as simple as that.

“It’s also morally wrong. I don’t think anyone should be paid less than the living wage. It’s particularly important that we recognise the contribution that these people make to society, to individual lives.

“There are many people in the country who are paid vastly more than NHS staff – like bankers or marketing people – whose work has very little benefit to society.”

UNISON wants the NHS to be properly funded so that it can have enough staff who are well motivated and fairly paid. Our campaign is for:

  • immediate payment of the 1% consolidated sum to everyone, as recommended by the NHS Pay Review Body;
  • the living wage of £7.65 an hour for low paid staf;
  • an above inflation pay rise for 2015-16;
  • a commitment to future pay rises that will restore the value of NHS pay.

UNISON head of health Christina McAnea, who chairsr the NHS staff side unions Ca, said: “For many in the NHS, last month’s strike was a first.

“Next week’s industrial action will be bigger as more unions will be joining it. Jeremy Hunt needs to listen to NHS workers who feel this government is treating them with contempt.

“NHS workers are overworked and underpaid. Most patients would be shocked to know that one in five of the NHS workers who care for them need to do a second job just to survive and many have to borrow money every month to make ends meet or resort to foodbanks.”


Read more from patients supporting the NHS

NHS pay campaign

Pay agreement reached with Welsh government