Watch: I asked NHS nurses in Birmingham why they are striking & they had strong views

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BirminghamWorld video journalist Richard Gullick joined nurses on the picket line at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham

NHS strikes continue this week. Nurses and ambulance staff are walking out together on the same day for the first time, demanding improved pay and working conditions. I’m here on the picket line at Queen Elizabeth Hospital to find out what’s motivating workers to take such action.

In both Scotland and Wales NHS strikes have been called off following ministers increasing their original offers for pay rises. Here in England strike action is set to take place throughout the week as workers demand a re-opening of negotiations.

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The NHS is facing an undeniable crisis as it comes to delivering adequate patient care already, and these strikes are set to place even greater strain on the service - begging the question will the long term rewards be worth the cost of this action?

Kelly Rogers, Organiser for the Royal Colleges of Nurses: “Well the NHS is in crisis, we’ve known that for a long time, and it’s coming to a head now. We’ve got huge, huge numbers of nursing vacancies.

“We’ve got waiting times in hospitals, I mean people are dying, when they shouldn’t be dying in hospitals. We’ve got nurses and nursing staff leaving the profession in droves.

“And these are people that chose to become nurses and healthcare assistants because they care about people - because they want to look after people because they believe in the profession, and they can’t take it anymore.“

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Georgina Sargent, a student nurse in Birmingham, tells us why she is striking alongside NHS staffGeorgina Sargent, a student nurse in Birmingham, tells us why she is striking alongside NHS staff
Georgina Sargent, a student nurse in Birmingham, tells us why she is striking alongside NHS staff | Local TV

Georgia Sargent, a student nurse, says: “I am a third year student and I’ve completed many placements at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and I also work as a health care assistant.

“So I know exactly the state of the hospitals and the minute, I know exactly the shortages we’re faced with, and I think it’s just so important to show my support today to my fellow nurses.”

Izzy Fisher, a student nurse in Birmingham, gives her views on why NHS strikes are necessary to ensure patient care in the futureIzzy Fisher, a student nurse in Birmingham, gives her views on why NHS strikes are necessary to ensure patient care in the future
Izzy Fisher, a student nurse in Birmingham, gives her views on why NHS strikes are necessary to ensure patient care in the future | Local TV

Izzy Fisher, a student nurse, says: “So at the moment, of course, it’s awful in the hospitals and taking a day off - we don’t want to do it. But we work tirelessly every day, that all the nurses go in and they work full 12 hour shifts, non stop working and they can’t provide the safe care that they need to provide.

“So taking the stand that we need to - to get better pay to get safer staffing, more staff, is so important. And in the long run, we’re going to save more lives.”

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Beanie in Birmingham gives her thoughts on the NHS strikesBeanie in Birmingham gives her thoughts on the NHS strikes
Beanie in Birmingham gives her thoughts on the NHS strikes | Local TV

Do the people of Birmingham support the NHS strikes?

Recent YouGov polls see a rise in public support for unions, and over 60% of those polled support strike action for both nurses and ambulance workers. I asked the people of Birmingham what their thoughts are on this recent wave of strikes.

Beanie says: “I think that the NHS is a very important part of our country and that it is incredibly important that we support anyone and everyone who is part of the NHS and who can help the general public.”

What should I do if I feel in during the week long NHS strikes?

Patients should be aware that the current advice is to still call 999 in cases of emergency. While conditions which are not immediately life-threatening may be given lower priority, those which are will be responded to by ambulances. Other services such as routine care will likely be affected by the action, but GPs and pharmacies will not be affected.

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