Trust leaders have raised concerns about other major unions striking on the same dates as the Royal College of Nursing in co-ordinated action, which would make avoiding disruption and harm ‘more hairy’.
The concerns were raised after the Royal College of Nursing confirmed members at various trusts had voted in favour of unprecedented action last week, with Unison and a raft of other unions also balloting members on strike action this month and in December.
Unison told HSJ co-ordinated action between itself, the RCN and the other health unions was “the best way to ensure industrial action is effective”.
One senior trust leader said that while the RCN strike days would prove a major challenge, they predicted their trust would be able to cope with the fallout. But they said the challenge would get even “more hairy” if Unison members also walked out on the same dates – a prospect they feared likely.
HSJ also understands that trust bosses have concerns about what will and won’t be classified as urgent and also about the emergency work to be carried out throughout a strike.
One senior provider figure used the example of insulin injections, which are at present to be part of the urgent and emergency care activities to continue throughout a strike, and wound treatment services, which, at this stage, are not.
They said: “If people don’t get those [insulin] injections twice a day, that person, by the end of 24 hours, will be in hospital [but] we are negotiating on [other areas] for example wound care. If you don’t dress people’s wounds at the right time, the worst situation is that a [deteriorating] wound means your leg has to be chopped off. At the moment, doing wound care is not being considered urgent care.”
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Source: HSJ, 15 November 2022