Midwives at Harrogate Hospital joined the thousands of health workers across the country who went on strike today.
NHS staffed walked out over pay for the first time in more than 30 years after the government decided not to award them a one per cent pay rise, as recommended by the national review body.
Jessica Clarke, 26 from Ripon has worked as a midwife at Harrogate District Hospital for four years.
She said: “The NHS relies on goodwill. We are campaigning that we work through our breaks and we work overtime because we want to offer a good service and look after the ladies in our care properly.”
She added: “This walkout isn’t aimed at Harrogate Hospital, it is the government who won’t give us a one per cent pay rise.
“We don’t feel valued by the government. It is daunting to go out on strike, no body wants to go on strike.”
Around 25 of the 80 midwives who work at Harrogate District Hospital joined the picket line at the hospital gates. All of the midwives on strike were on days off or in management roles.
Infant feeding coordinator, Jo Orgales started working as a midwife in 1986.
She said: “Some of us have worked for decades and never been on strike. We do a lot more now than we used to have to do, we are really busy all the time. We want to provide an excellent service and we want the support of the public.”
Passing motorists and visitors to the hospital honked their horns and cheered in support of the strikers.
“The reaction from the public has been very supportive,” said Miss Clarke.
A few hundred yard down the road Yorkshire Ambulance Services workers were on the picket line.
Harold McGarrell has worked for the ambulance service for 35 years. He said: “Pay is one issue, but people are worried about the privatisation of the NHS.”
He added: “We have continued to provide a service today, this is not a job that we take lightly, but when MPs are getting pay rises and senior managers are getting pay rises and aren’t it is upsetting.”
Health secretary said today that hospitals would be forced to lay off staff if the recommended pay award was met in full.
“Nearly 60 per cent of NHS staff get an automatic pay rise through their increments of an average of three per cent. We can’t afford to offer a one per cent on top of the three per cent,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
“We have had very clear analysis that if we did that, hospital chief executives would lay off around 4,000 nurses this year and around 10,000 nurses next year.”
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