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NHS: 'Robust plans' in place to deal with strike

"Robust plans" are in place to protect patients during a four-hour strike by thousands of health workers today, NHS England said.

Around 150 police officers will drive or help crew ambulances in London as part of the plans, with paramedics among those walking out in the row over pay.

NHS organisations have tried and tested plans to deal with a range of disruptions including industrial action.

We are working with the NHS to ensure there are robust plans for November 24 that protect the safety, welfare and service provided to patients.

– NHS England spokeswoman

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NHS workers to stage four-hour strike in pay row

NHS workers will stage a four-hour strike today in a row with the Government over pay.

Members of 11 unions will walk out for four hours today in the row over pay. Credit: PA Wire

Midwives, nurses, radiographers, paramedics and psychiatric staff will walk out from 7am in England and 8am in Northern Ireland in protest at the Government's refusal to accept a recommended 1% wage rise for all NHS employees.

Unison leader Dave Prentis said the second strike in a month should "sound alarm bells" in Westminster as the "anger is spreading".

A Department of Health spokesperson said the government "can't afford a consolidated pay rise in addition to increments without risking 10,000 frontline jobs".

If they privatise the NHS is it such a big deal?

YouTuber Leena (aka justkissmyfrog) believes a basic health service is "a given for any society claiming to be civilised."

In her policy video for Leaders Live, she worries that privatisation of the NHS will lead to "survival of the richest" and pledges to grill political leaders on why "even scraping the top of NHS funding ever even entered their minds".

What will you ask political leaders when they tackle young people's questions in a series of live streamed Q&As on YouTube?

Call to reverse 'unacceptable' mental health cuts

Mental health services are facing "unprecedented demand" despite losing thousands of nurses and beds under the coalition government, the Royal College of Nursing has warned.

Mental health services are facing Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the nurses' union, said there are 3,300 fewer posts in mental health nursing and 1,500 fewer beds than there were in 2010.

Speaking to the BBC, Dr Carter urged the government to take action "now" to mitigate the "unacceptable" cuts, warning that reduced services were a "false economy" as "admitting people to hospital means they stay in longer and cost more".

Economically it's bad, but also clinically and psychologically it's bad, because people have to wait until they are very ill before they get admitted - that can't be in anyone's interests.

– Dr Peter Carter, chief executive, Royal College of Nursing

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg recently announced a fresh injection of £40 million this year and £80 million next year to improve mental health services.

NHS volunteers depart for Christmas at Sierra Leone

Thirty NHS volunteers are now on their way to the heart of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

The doctors, nurses and support staff are the first of several NHS teams who are giving up their Christmases at home to join British soldiers, scientists and aid workers already in Sierra Leone.

Sejal Karia met them as they said a final goodbye to their loved ones at Heathrow.

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Mali monitoring 310 people amid fresh Ebola case

Officials in Mali are monitoring 310 people in a bid to help limit the spread of the Ebola, after another case of the deadly virus was confirmed inside the country.

Health workers spray a mosque on November 15 after a Guinean imam died on the virus. Credit: Reuters

Officially five people have died on the virus in the country.

The deaths are linked to a 70-year-old imam who was brought to the country's capital Bamako, from Guinea, where the regional Ebola epidemic first began.

The World Health Organisation says more than 5,400 people have died in the current outbreak, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

German authorities confirm second case of bird flu

German authorities have confirmed a second case of the H5N8 strain of bird flu in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, with the virus found in a wild bird.

A second case of H5N8 bird flu has been detected in a wild bird in Germany. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The strain is highly contagious among birds but has never been detected in humans.

In a statement agriculture minister Christian Schmidt said: "For the first time, the H5N8 virus has been confirmed in a wild bird in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

"With that the suspicion is strengthened that wild birds are connected with the cases in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern as well as in the Netherlands and Britain."

New Ebola case in Mali

A new case of Ebola has been recorded today, in Mali's capital Bamako.

The country's health ministry confirmed that the friend of a nurse who died from Ebola earlier this month has now tested positive for the disease.

To date 5,459 people have died in the current Ebola outbreak with Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia accounting for all but 15 of the deaths.

Report calls for end to 'tick-box' GP guidelines

A report criticising the state of GP services has called for the end to "tick box" guidelines.

The report, written by the former NHS Confederation boss Mike Farrar, also advocates a "transformation fund" for general practice, which Mr Farrar says receives only 8.5% of NHS funding at the moment.

Other recommendations include better use of technology to aid back-office functions and a shift towards more personalised care, while encouraging patients to manage their own health.

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