Hundreds of staff working for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) are taking strike action today over pay and staffing.
The walkout by members of Unison will be followed by four days of working to rule.
This means the staff, who advise the NHS on the best drugs and treatments available for patients, will only work the hours set out in their contracts and refuse any overtime.
Unison’s head of health, Sara Gorton, said: “The staff at NICE are critical to ensuring the NHS provides the most effective drugs and treatments to patients. They can see only too well the unbearable pressure across all parts of the health service.
“No one wants to strike, but the hope is, the action taken by key health staff proves enough to convince the chancellor he needs to act now to improve NHS pay. The need for urgent talks to resolve the dispute is becoming more pressing by the day.”