United Kingdom

Scottish and Welsh joint calls for additional NHS funding to prevent strike action


Umza Yousaf and his Welsh counterpart have written to UK Health Secretary Steve Barclay asking for more money to prevent strikes this winter.

Mr Yousaf, along with Eluned Morgan, wrote to Mr Barclay ahead of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement next week in an effort to solicit additional funding for hard-working NHS staff.

It comes after ambulance crews in Scotland voted on November 28 to take a one-day union action.

Deputy Prime Minister John Swinney and the Welsh Government’s Chancellor of the Exchequer recently wrote to the Treasury in calls for additional funding for public services.

The anger of NHS staff is completely understandable

The letter reads: “We wanted to write to you ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on 17 November to call once again for additional funding for our hard-working NHS staff.

“The Royal College of Nursing has announced a sweeping legal mandate for industrial action in the UK. In Scotland, they have joined several other unions representing NHS staff in obtaining a legal mandate for union action with ballots expected to confirm a mandate in the rest of the UK.

“The risk to the NHS from industrial action this winter is high, and we must all do everything we can to avert industrial action in whatever form.

The NHS in the UK continues to feel the effects of the pandemic as it recovers and re-mobilizes, and any action is likely to have catastrophic consequences in all parts of the UK.

“We are experiencing a cost of living crisis and the anger of NHS staff is completely understandable.

“The skyrocketing inflation coupled with high interest rates, a direct result of the havoc wrought by the UK government’s mini-budget, means we simply cannot come close to meeting the expectations of NHS staff across the country.

“While the UK government’s support in areas such as support for energy bills is welcome, it has not gone far enough.

“Media reports suggest the Chancellor is considering reintroducing austerity measures to the people of the UK, for which there is no mandate, through extensive austerity measures. That would be a disaster for our public services, including the NHS, at a time when they need more investment, not less.

“We would therefore ask you to work with us to advocate for the Chancellor ahead of his autumn statement for increased funding for the NHS and decentralized governments as a whole, primarily to pay our hard-working NHS staff a fair wage increase. in light of the cost of living crisis this winter, and avoid what could be catastrophic industrial action in the NHS.”

A UK government spokesman said: “We are investing record amounts in health and social care and the Chancellor has made it clear that protecting public services such as the NHS is a priority.

“We are immensely grateful for the hard work of NHS staff, including nurses, which is why we have fully accepted the recommendations of UKTN NHS Pay Review Body and have given more than a million NHS workers in England a pay increase of at least £1,400 given. this year.

“This comes on top of a 3% pay rise last year when public sector wages were frozen and wider government support for the cost of living.”