This article published by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) aims to explain how health services in the UK protect patient safety during industrial action by nurses. It describes the principle of derogations, an exemption from taking part in strike action given to particular RCN members or services. Any RCN industrial action must follow the life-preserving care model. This exempts:
- emergency intervention for the preservation of life or the prevention of permanent disability.
- care required for therapeutic services without which life would be jeopardised or permanent disability would occur.
- urgent diagnostic procedures and assessment required to obtain information on potentially life-threatening conditions or conditions that could potentially lead to permanent disability.
The article goes on to explain the process by which derogations are granted, and talks about balancing the need to maximise the impact of the strike while keeping patients safe.