Striking nurses leave picket line to help collapsed man outside hospital
Nurses striking in Bristol left their picket line on Thursday to help an injured man who collapsed just outside a hospital.
The striking staff raced to assist the man who became ill just outside Bristol Royal Infirmary's (BRI) main entrance on Thursday morning.
Nurses left the picket line and went to help the man by providing emergency first aid.
The patient was put into the recovery position and was visibly shaking on the ground outside – as temperatures dropped as low as -8C.
Within 10 minutes, staff working at BRI came out to collect the patient, putting him on a spinal board and lifting him onto a stretcher.
The striking nurses returned to the picket line shortly afterwards.
Read more: Nurses 'will continue to strike in January without pay negotiations', warns RCN leader
Talking about the strikes Paula Byrne, 58, a nurse specialist, said: "I’ve been a nurse for 40 years next year and I have real concerns, among myself and my colleagues, about the future of nursing.
"Daily we’re seeing nurses working under great stress with great challenge, and contributing an enormous amount of charity and good will, to maintain patient care so that’s a real concern for me.
"You’re seeing burnouts, you’re seeing thousands of nurse leaving the profession.
"What we have seen over the last 10 years is austerity, austerity measures, public sector pay cuts, rising costs and we find that nurses now their daily living and quality of living has gone downhill.
"The staffing in the NHS is the most valuable asset is has – so if you don’t protect that assess, we’re not going to have a future in healthcare because there won’t be any nurses.
Read more: ‘Solid support’ for strike by rail workers, union claims
Watch: Why are nurses striking and what does it mean for the NHS?
"This isn’t about making things difficult for patients, though we do appreciate that there’s going to be some suffering involved.
"Unfortunately that’s where we’re at to hopefully bring about some change."
Daniel Tumino, 39, senior nurse in neonatal intensive care, added: "We’re striking for our safety and the safety of our patients.
"The pay is getting very low, specially in my unit, we’re losing nurses day to day.
"We used to be made up on 150 nurses looking after 32 beds, but in the last three year’s we’ve had to drop down to 24 beds due to nurses leaving – because we only have 110 nurses now.
He added: "People are getting stressed and tried, sometimes you think I cannot do this anymore. It’s impacting our will to come to work – why should I come to work when there is no support.
"I would like a pay rise equal to inflation, that’s all. They’ve not been doing that for 12 years. Last year we got a 3% pay rise and they took of 2% for national insurance – so they gave 3% and took 2%, it’s not right."
National insurance went up by 1.25p in the pound in April, but went back to its previous level on 6 November.
Downing Street has so far stood firm against the biggest nursing strike in the history of the NHS.
Health minister Maria Caulfield said around 70,000 appointments, procedures and surgeries will be lost in England due to the strike. Thousands more will be affected in Northern Ireland and Wales.
Downing Street rejected calls from the former head of the independent pay review body for a possible rethink of the pay award in light of soaring inflation.
The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “Certainly no plans to tell the independent body what to do.”
The idea of looking again at pay has been backed by several Tories.
Former Conservative Party chairman, Sir Jake Berry, also urged the government to “improve its offer” on pay.
Conservative MP Steve Brine also told the BBC’s World At One programme: “I think the way out is to protect the integrity of the process, go back and ask them to look again.
“Everyone needs to cool it and I think sending it back to the pay review body to have a look would be a sensible answer.”
The government is sticking to the recommendations of the independent pay review body, which said nurses should get a pay rise of around £1,400.
The Royal College of Nursing has been calling for a pay rise at 5% above inflation, though it has indicated it would accept a lower offer.