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Nurses strike: Dates of NHS walkouts and which areas are affected

Nurses strikes - Leon Neal/Getty Images
Nurses strikes - Leon Neal/Getty Images

Nurses are set to go on strike again in February across England in an ongoing dispute over pay.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union held two strikes in December, which resulted in more than 30,000 operations and appointments being cancelled, and a further walkout on January 19.

The RCN is demanding a 19 per cent pay rise, which has been dismissed as "unaffordable" by the Government.

Commenting on the walkouts, Pat Cullen, the RCN's general secretary, said: "The Government had the opportunity to end this dispute before Christmas, but instead they have chosen to push nursing staff out into the cold again in January.

"I do not wish to prolong this dispute, but the Prime Minister has left us with no choice.

"The public support has been heart-warming and I am more convinced than ever that this is the right thing to do for patients and the future of the NHS."

She added that the "voice of nursing will not be ignored" and that the "sooner ministers come to the negotiating table, the sooner this can be resolved".

When are the next nurses strikes?

  • Wednesday, January 18 

  • Thursday, January 19 

  • Monday, February 6

  • Tuesday, February 7

As the walkouts are being held on consecutive days, they could cause greater disruption than the first two days of strikes on Dec 15 and 20.

Despite claims that up to 100,000 nurses would strike in December, figures for England show that less than 12,000 nurses did.

However, some nurses who wanted to strike may not have been rostered to work, while others will have been obliged to work in services exempt from the action.

Which hospitals will be affected?

The next wave of strikes will involve more trusts - around one in three will be involved, up from one in four in December.

In total, 55 trusts in England were affected by strike action on Jan 18 and 19, up from 44 when strikes took place before Christmas.

There will be no strikes in Wales and Northern Ireland this time.

However, the strike action will grow even larger in February, covering 73 trusts. Some 12 health boards and organisations in Wales will also take part in the action.

The RCN said it will not take action in Northern Ireland next month, while in Scotland strike action remains paused as negotiations continue.

Unions have said that the agreements made to protect specific services in the December strikes will not be automatically rolled over.

Emergency care is protected from strike action, and in December an agreement was made to exempt a number of services from industrial action.

However, cancer patients were still among those who saw operations and appointments cancelled.

While the RCN is demanding a 19 per cent pay rise, Ms Cullen has implied the union could be willing to accept a pay rise of 10 per cent after she called on the Government to meet it "halfway".

Junior doctor strikes

The British Medical Association is currently balloting around 45,000 junior doctors on whether to embark on strikes. Medics will be asked to back the strikes, which would start with a three-day walkout in March.

The BMA said such action would start with "full walkouts" - including the removal of emergency cover - for 72 hours.

BMA leaders have already said that junior doctors are "very likely" to vote in favour of strikes, as part of a campaign to see pay rise by more than one quarter.

The industrial action by doctors would be the first since 2016, when four periods of industrial action led to almost 300,000 appointments and operations being cancelled.

A 72-hour walkout would be significantly longer than such strikes, which lasted up to 48 hours hours each.

The removal of emergency cover means NHS trusts will be forced to deploy senior medics to do tasks normally performed by juniors.

The 72-hour walkout is expected to take place in March, and could coincide with a walkout of GMB ambulance workers who are striking on March 6 and 20.

Ambulance strikes

Thousands of ambulance workers across the country are also holding walk-outs in a dispute over pay. The next strike is planned for February 6 (GMB and Unite unions). Further dates in February have also been announced.