Nurses in England are to strike again across two dates in January as the row over NHS pay escalates, the Royal College of Nursing has announced.
RCN strike action is to take place on Wednesday 18 January and Thursday 19 January, with further dates to be confirmed in the new year.
“I do not wish to prolong this dispute, but the prime minister has left us with no choice”
This phase of action will take place in England only, but across more locations and trusts in the country than in the previous round that took place this month.
The RCN said ministers had the power to stop strikes but had failed to open negotiations on NHS pay and so further action was needed.
RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen said: “The government had the opportunity to end this dispute before Christmas but instead they have chosen to push nursing staff out into the cold again in January.
“I do not wish to prolong this dispute, but the prime minister has left us with no choice.”
Thousands of nursing staff took to the picket lines on 15 and 20 December across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Meanwhile, the RCN is due to hold its first strike action in Scotland in 2023 after its members rejected a revised pay offer from the government there, but dates are yet to be announced.
Further strike dates are also expected to be revealed in Wales in the new year, while plans for more RCN strikes in Northern Ireland are yet to be confirmed.
The dispute between the RCN and the government centres on NHS pay and connected issues of staffing and patient safety concerns.
Ms Cullen added: “The public support has been heart-warming and I am more convinced than ever that this is the right thing to do for patients and the future of the NHS.
“The voice of nursing will not be ignored. Staff shortages and low pay make patient care unsafe – the sooner ministers come to the negotiating table, the sooner this can be resolved. I will not dig in, if they don’t dig in.”
In response to the news, health and social care secretary Steve Barclay said: “We are disappointed that some union members have chosen to take further strike action.
“The pay demands of unions would mean taking money away from frontline services and cause further delays to treatment.
“Strikes are in no one’s best interest least of all patients and I urge unions to reconsider further strike action before walkouts have a worse impact on patients.”
Helen Whyley, director of RCN Wales, said further strikes in the country could be avoided if the government made a “genuine commitment” to resolving the dispute.
She said: “I am bitterly disappointed to be going into the Christmas holidays without any resolution to this.
“Two days of strike action does not seem to have moved our Welsh Government ministers at all, who continue to hide behind a funding row rather than focusing on resolving a Welsh dispute impacting on Welsh people.”
From speaking to nurses on the picket lines this month, Ms Whyley said staff were “facing this Christmas with heavy hearts”.
“All of them know they will face staff shortages and nurses will barely be able to heat their homes let alone make the holidays special for their loved ones which they so deserve,” she said.
Ms Whyley added: “The nursing workforce must be supported to provide high quality patient care, and this must start with a significant and substantial pay rise.
“I have written to the Welsh Government this week requesting a way forward to avoid more strike action in Wales.
“If the Welsh Government does not make a genuine commitment to resolving this dispute, new strike days will be announced in the new year.”
The locations strike action will take place across England on 18 and 19 January 2023:
NHS Derby and Derbyshire ICB (Joined Up Care Derbyshire)
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Mid and South Essex ICB
NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB
NHS Suffolk and North East Essex ICB
Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust
St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
NHS South West London ICB
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust
Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
Wrightington Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust
Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust
Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Cheshire and Merseyside ICB
St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB
Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
North of England CSU (NECS)
Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust
East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust
University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust
Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Kent and Medway ICB
NHS Surrey Heartlands ICB
Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
Solent NHS Trust
Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust
Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust
Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust
Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
NHS Dorset ICB (Our Dorset)
Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust
Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust
NHS Black Country ICB
Midlands and Lancashire CSU
Yorkshire and Humber
Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust
Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Sheffield Childrens NHS Foundation Trust
NHS West Yorkshire ICB
NHS Blood and Transplant