Industrial Action Update
12 January 2023
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has announced that strike action will be taking place on Wednesday 18 January and Thursday 19 January.
This action will be taking place only at employers where the threshold was met as part of the RCN ballot. Employers who met the threshold in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin include:
- Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
- Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital
- Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust
We would like to reassure you that we are working together across the system to try and mitigate the disruption to the public. We do not yet know the extent to which services will be affected but we will update this page once we have more detail.
To get the latest info on services at each organisation, please visit:
- Home :: Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust (mpft.nhs.uk)
- Home | Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust (shropscommunityhealth.nhs.uk)
- Robert Jones and Agnus Hunt
In the meantime, there are a number of ways the public can support.
How you can help the local healthcare system:
- NHS 111 can tell you where to get help for your symptoms if you’re not sure what to do, how to find general health information and advice, where to get an emergency supply of your prescribed medicine and how to get a repeat prescription. You can also call NHS 111 to speak to a clinician and make bookings for urgent treatment centres and other services. The online and telephone services are available 24/7.
- Minor Injury Units are there to help with injuries that need attention urgently but are not critical or life threatening, including cuts, sprains and rashes. The units are staffed by Registered Nurses. There are four Minor Injury Units in Shropshire:
- Urgent Treatment Centres treat injuries including sprains, strains, suspected fractures, bites, cuts, scalds, and other non-emergency conditions. Waiting times are usually much shorter than A&E. We have UTCs at both hospital sites (Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital, Telford) within our Emergency Departments. They are open from 9am-9pm seven days a week.
- Anyone who is in mental health distress should call the Mental Health Crisis Line: 0808 196 4501 – the helpline is open 24 hours a day.
- Pharmacists are experts in medicine who can help you with minor health concerns. As qualified healthcare professionals, they can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains. If symptoms suggest it’s something more serious, pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need and can signpost you to see a GP or other healthcare professional. Find a pharmacy near you: Find a pharmacy – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
What is happening?
Trade unions representing NHS staff are in dispute with the Government over the 2022/23 pay award. A number of the unions have balloted their NHS members to take part in industrial action. As a result members of the RCN are striking on the 18 and 19 January, and members of the GMB and Unison (ambulance staff) are striking on 11 January and members of UNISON (ambulance staff) are striking on the 23 January.
The NHS wants to see a resolution as soon as possible, but pay is a matter for the Government and the trade unions.
What if I need urgent or emergency care?
Anyone who needs urgent care should use NHS111 online or call NHS 111 to be assessed and directed to the right care for them. When someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, you should seek emergency care in the normal way, by calling 999 or attending A&E.
What do strikes mean for NHS services in my area?
Not every hospital and ambulance service will be affected by strike action. You can check which Trusts are affected on each trade union’s website.
What if I have an appointment on a strike day?
Everyone who has an appointment should attend as planned, unless your local NHS provider has contacted you to reschedule. If we have not contacted you, please attend your appointment even if your Trust is affected by strikes.
Will emergency care be affected on strike days?
Emergency care will continue to be available across all parts of the country. It is really important that in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or their life is at risk patients continue to come forward as normal.
I have a loved one who will be a hospital inpatient on strike day – how will their care be affected?
All hospital inpatients will be informed of how their care will be impacted on a ward-by-ward basis by the staff involved in delivering their care.
Will GP services be affected on strike days?
GP services will be running as normal on strike days. Please continue to attend scheduled GP appointments.
When will I find out if my appointment is rescheduled?
The NHS will contact you if your appointment needs to be rescheduled due to strike action. This is likely to be a text, letter or phone call, and you should be offered an alternative date for your appointment. If we have not contacted you, please attend your appointment as planned.
If my appointment is rescheduled, will I be put back to the bottom of the waiting list?
Any appointments that need to be rescheduled will be done so as a priority.
Is there anything I should do now?
No, the NHS will contact you if your appointment needs to be rescheduled due to strike action.
Should I cancel my appointment on the day of strikes?
No, if we have not contacted you, please attend your appointment as planned.
What should I do if I need an ambulance?
On strike days, patients should only call 999 if seriously ill or injured, and there is risk to life. Ambulances will be dispatched where clinically appropriate.
For all other health care needs support will be available through NHS111 online, via the NHS 111 helpline or at your local GP or pharmacy.
What is considered an emergency?
Patients should only call 999 if seriously ill or injured, or there is risk to life. Ambulances will be dispatched where clinically appropriate.
How long will services be impacted?
The nurses strikes on 18 and 19 January will last for 12 hours and the ambulance strikes on 11 and 23 January will last for up to 24 hours. However patients should be aware that it may take slightly longer for services to return to normal.
How exactly will the army be supporting the NHS?
Military personnel will be supporting NHS staff in a variety of ways, including by driving ambulances. They will not be providing any medical support.
How will the military assist on emergency calls? Can they drive on blue lights?
They will be primarily focused on lower category emergency calls, for example falls, but they could be sent to higher priority cases too. If deployed to an emergency, the trained clinician can drive to the scene on blue lights, with the military driver driving to hospital under normal traffic laws. This means they will be required to observe the speed limit and stop at red lights. If there is need to transport a patient to hospital under emergency blue light conditions, then the crew will request back up.
Could RCN members still go out on strike in a trust that has no official industrial action mandated? Action can only be taken where the employer has been notified of strike action by the union after a ballot authorising such action at that employer. It’s unlawful to take part in ‘secondary action’ (going on strike in sympathy with people who work for a different employer). Information is available here on the rights of staff around taking industrial action.
Can nurses working in a derogated area still strike?
RCN members in derogated areas can still take strike action and will be protected against dismissal. Derogations are an informal agreement between unions and employers, and are not legally enforceable.
However, derogations are negotiated for areas providing critical patient care. Those refusing to work in derogated services can be advised they may be committing a criminal offence if their strike action has the potential to endanger human life or cause serious bodily injury and that they should seek advice from their union.
What rights do non-union staff have who take industrial action?
Non-union members who take part in legal, official industrial action at their employing organisation have the same rights as union members not to be dismissed as a result of taking action.
Page last updated 27 January 2023