Patients could die if nurses and junior doctors join forces to impose biggest strike the NHS has ever seen
THE NHS is facing one of the gravest crises in its history as militant unions are in talks to inflict a general strike on England’s hospitals.
Nurses are downing tools for two days over the May bank holiday – and junior doctors have threatened to join them.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay told The Sun on Sunday: “Industrial action means the safety of patients is put at risk.”
Panicked hospital chiefs warned a coordinated strike would “incomprehensible” chaos to the NHS.
While worried MPs said patients could die.
The Sun on Sunday has been told the British Medical Association – which represents junior doctors – is in talks with the Royal College of Nursing to join their walkout.
If they do, it would be the worst strike in NHS history.
Senior RCN chief Patricia Marquis said they could join forces with junior doctors – inflicting maximum mayhem on the NHS.
She said: “That is something that will have to be considered if not least because we are all in the same space.”
Insiders reckon it is more likely junior doctors go on strike immediately after the RCN’s rather than on the same day – causing prolonged mayhem.
Writing exclusively for this newspaper, Mr Barclay said: “Industrial action means the safety of patients is put at risk.
“Cancelled operations, missed appointments, and treatments postponed – none of this is good for the NHS or patients.”
He added: “The prospect of more upheaval and the impact this would have on key services, including emergency and cancer care, is deeply concerning – both for health leaders and patients.”
Tory MP Greg Smith said: “Coordinated action would certainly have the effect of bringing the NHS to its knees.
“This is a huge threat to patients, to lives.”