King’s Lynn hospital strike support ‘fantastic’

Staff striking at Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Monday.
Staff striking at Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Monday.

Sixty people manned picket lines outside Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital as staff supported a national strike over pay.

Firefighters went along to support medical staff, including midwives and radiographers, during their four-hour strike outside the Gayton Road site yesterday morning.

Thousands of workers across the country walked out for the second time in a fight for fairer pay.

A total of nine unions are fighting for a one per cent pay rise for NHS staff, which the Government says is too expensive.

The hospital says the strike had no detrimental effect on patients.

Darren Barber, chairman of the hospital’s joint staff-side committee and secretary of its Unison branch, estimates between 100 and 150 people supported the strike at Lynn.

He said: “We had a fantastic response from the staff and the public. The beeping from passing cars was non-stop. They are behind us and give us their support.

“If we don’t invest in the people in health care where are we going to be in five years? If we don’t get a pay rise it is going to stop people coming into the profession which is going to affect health care.

“We don’t take the decision to go on strike lightly but enough is enough and we deserve to have a pay rise. We have not had one for five years.

“The MPs have given themselves a nine per cent pay rise but we save lives and look after people.”

Nine unions across England and Northern Ireland supported yesterday’s strike action.

Staff from a range of departments including midwifery, radiography, dietician and x-ray departments supported the strike. Unions taking part included Unison, Royal College of Midwives, Society of Radiographers, British Association of Occupational Therapists, GMB and Unite.

This is the second wave of strike action which has happened at the hospital.

The last strike occurred on October 13, which for the first time included the Royal College of Midwives, when 70 people manned four picket lines around the site.

Rob Heywood, chief operating officer said: “The industrial action taken yesterday has had no detrimental effect upon our patients.

“We have worked alongside unions to ensure that levels of patient safety and care remain unaffected.”