The NHS as we know it was started in 1948. Hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists all came together to provide free health care service. It was created to ensure that good healthcare would be available to anyone and everyone. It was not about who could afford it.
Throughout the years the NHS has headed numerous breakthroughs from Francis Crick and James D Watson, scientists from Cambridge university, discovering the structure of DNA which acted as the stepping stone in studying diseases caused by defective genes to the first successful bone marrow transplant on a child in 1979 and much later the world’s first liver kept alive outside the human body being successfully transplanted.
The NHS has done an enormous amount in terms of improving healthcare for all, and it continues to do so and grow accordingly. The number of professionally qualified clinical staff within the NHS has risen by 16.1 per cent since 2003. This rise includes an increase in doctors of 34.4 per cent; a rise in the number of nurses of 6.8 percent; and 17.4 per cent more qualified ambulance staff.
When the NHS was launched in 1948, it had a budget of £437 million (roughly £9 billion at today’s value). For 2012/13, it was around £108.9 billion.
Last Monday (13) paramedics, midwives, nurses and other NHS workers staged a four hour strike spurred on by the government’s refusal to give them a one percent pay rise. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt explained why they couldn’t give a pay rise. “Everyone is going to get the 1% but what we have said is we can’t afford to give the 1% to the people who are already getting an increase of 3% through their increment.”
For the first time in history all unions joined the strike at the same time. In 2012 doctors went on a strike with regards to their pensions. In 1988 nurses went on strike over working hours and ambulance crews took industrial action between 1989 and 1990. But this is the first national walkout over pay for 32 years.
According to NHS staff, their pay has been cut by 12%-15% since 2010. They deem it unfair and disrespectful.
About 400,000 NHS staff and other trade unions joined in making it the biggest strike in healthcare’s history. For the first time in 133 years the Royal College of Midwives joined in.
There will be various forms of industrial action throughout the week with a national protest on Saturday organised by the TUC under the banner ‘Britain Needs A Pay Rise’.
Members of the society of Radiographers joined in on the existing strike from the NHS regarding the refusal of the 1% pay rise earlier yesterday 20/10. The strike started from 9:00 to 13:00pm, and follow a work-to-rule policy for the rest of the wee. Radiographers say it wont affect the healthcare of their patients.
The NHS staff as a whole feel they have got to the stage that they feel there is no alternative than to continue with the strike.
The facts speak for themselves. Although to date these strikes have not affected overall health care, the message is clear. What are your views on the strike? Should there be a 1% pay rise or not? Please share your views.