Three-day walkout by hospital staff planned

Hundreds of healthcare workers in Devon are expected to take part in a three-day strike next week, a union has said.

Clinical support workers and healthcare, maternity and imaging care assistants at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth are due to walk out at 00:00 BST on Wednesday, 17 July, said Unison.

The workers said they were calling for fair pay which better reflected the importance of their roles in patient care.

The University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust said it would continue to work with staff and unions to "ultimately resolve the current dispute". It added it had plans in place to deal with any strike disruption.

'No other choice'

Kerry Baigent, Unison's South West regional secretary, said: “The support workers are not prepared to have their hard work undervalued any longer.

"Walking out is the last thing they want to do, but the trust has left them with no other choice."

She said health workers' responsibilities had increased but that had not been recognised by the trust and staff had not been paid properly.

The trade union has called for support staff to be moved to the correct grade and to receive back pay for their previous work, which it said other NHS trusts, such as Somerset, had done.

'Taken for granted'

Leon Shrigley, imaging care assistant and Unison representative, said: “I love my job but we all feel very taken for granted.

"It’s insulting when you think that we could all earn more an hour working as a barista in a coffee shop.”

The three-day walkout follows a 48-hour strike in June.

Ms Baigent said: "Managers should do the right thing now, deliver rebanding and back pay for everyone to avoid any further disruption for patients.”

'Huge contribution'

A spokesperson from University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust said it "recognises and appreciates the huge contribution that all of our healthcare support workers make to our patients".

They said: “We are committed to providing healthcare support workers with a resolution. However, we respect colleagues’ right to take strike action and we appreciate that it can be a difficult decision to make, both professionally and personally.

“We would like to reassure patients that we have tried and tested plans in place to deal with any disruptions such as industrial action."

They added patients would be contacted if their appointment was cancelled and patients should call their GP or visit a pharmacist for advice if it was not an emergency.

Correction Friday 12 July, 2024: This story has been amended to say the strike begins on Wednesday 17 July, 2024 after an earlier version reported an incorrect date.

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