Nursing strikes will be paused as the Government and the RCN have agreed to enter a process of 'intensive' talks.
A joint statement was released yesterday evening which said the health secretary will meet with the RCN on Wednesday 22 February to begin talks.
‘Both sides are committed to finding a fair and reasonable settlement that recognises the vital role that nurses and nursing play in the National Health Service and the wider economic pressures facing the United Kingdom and the Prime Minister’s priority to halve inflation.
‘The talks will focus on pay, terms and conditions and productivity enhancing reforms.’
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This comes as RCN members were preparing to strike yet again for 48 hours from 1st March to 3rd March, with every member in England, where there was a mandate to strike, being called to withdraw their labour.
Strike action will now be paused while the talks the are in progress.
Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers responded to the news with: ‘It is a positive development that there will be substantive negotiations with the RCN. NHS Employers will do everything in our power to support a constructive outcome to the talks with the RCN, as well with other trade unions.’
NHS Confederation, chief executive, Matthew Taylor welcomed the news after he wrote to the Prime Minister on Friday, asking him to negotiate with health unions on pay as strikes escalated.
‘My letter to the Prime Minister on Friday made clear the deep concern that NHS leaders were expressing about the escalating dispute between the government and NHS trade unions and its impact on patients. This included putting at risk the delivery of the government’s own ambition, which NHS leaders share, to reduce waiting lists.’
Mr Taylor called the talks a ‘positive step forward’ but that there was significant work to do for all parties involved.
‘NHS leaders, their teams and patients will hope that a way forward can be found which will bring an end to the unprecedented industrial action the NHS has faced in the last few months.’