‘This is the last resort’ - on the picket line with NHS nurses on strike in Merseyside

Nurses say they are striking over the quality of care provided to you and your family as well as for a pay rise.

The Royal College of Nursing began the second phase of nationwide strike action on Wednesday, following the mass walk-outs in December.

Nurses are striking for fair pay and better working conditions, and the RCN have asked for a pay increase of 5% above inflation, which at the top rate would have equated to a 19% rise - some reports have suggested that the union would accept a 10% increase.

Six NHS Trusts across Merseyside are affected by strike action on January 18 and 19, including Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Found Trust.

Nurses gathered outside Arrowe Park Hospital from 8.00am on Wednesday despite the wintry conditions, receiving beeps of support from drivers passing by.

A&E Staff Nurse, Olivia Somerville, who attended the strike on her day off, told LiverpoolWorld: “I stand on a picket line today with my colleagues, not because we are lazy, not because we don’t care, because this is the last resort.

A&E staff nurse, Olivia Somerville at Arrowe Park.

“My colleagues and I are some of the most hard working, caring people you will meet. We laugh together, cry together and most importantly, work together in yours or your relatives time of need.”

There have been concerns that NHS strikes pose a risk to patients in need, and Health Secretary Steve Barclay said in the Independent that ‘unaffordable pay rises’ could ‘make us all poorer.’

However, Ms Somerville said: “This is not a wreckless decision, it was balloted and planned so we can strike safely. We are striking for our patients, our families, our colleagues and ourselves - because we are a selfless profession. We all deserve better.”

Nurses outside Arrowe Park Hospital.
RCN strike, 2023: Nurses stand in the icy weather outside Arrowe Park Hospital.