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NHS physiotherapists to stage two days of strikes

Physiotherapists are to stage two strikes in the coming weeks in a dispute over pay and staffing.

NHS physiotherapy staff across England will strike on January 26 and February 9, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) announced.

Further dates will be announced if no improved offer is forthcoming from the government, said the CSP.

The planned industrial action follows the CSP achieving mandates to strike in 119 NHS employers, covering 13,500 physiotherapy staff, across England through ballots held at the end of last year and this month.

The January 26 action will involve up to 4,200 CSP members.

The CSP participated in talks with the government earlier this week but said the lack of a concrete offer meant there was “no option” but to announce strike action.

Claire Sullivan, director of employer relations and union services at the CSP, said: “Not one physiotherapist or support worker wants to strike, especially at such a precarious time, but they have been left with no choice and their reasons for doing so are intrinsically linked to the current NHS crisis.

“Every day, patients struggle to get the care they need because of the chronic workforce shortages caused by a decade of under-investment.

“If the Government doesn’t address pay then we risk losing even more valuable health workers, making the consequences of those workforce shortages even worse for patients.

“NHS staff not only deserve better pay but also desperately need it during this cost-of-living crisis.

“However, this dispute is also to protect patient services both now and into the future, and it’s essential that the government comes up with an improved offer to avert further strikes and demonstrate they understand the scale of the problem.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We hugely value all NHS staff, including physiotherapists, and it is regrettable some will be taking industrial action at a time when the NHS is already under huge pressure from Covid and flu.

“The Health and Social Care Secretary has been clear he wants to have an honest conversation with unions about what is affordable for the 2023/24 pay settlement in the current economic context.

“He met with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists this week and will continue to talk to unions to ensure the Government’s evidence submitted to the independent pay body is as fair as possible.”