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NHS staff say strike action is 'last resort'

NHS workers at Leeds General Infirmary who have taken part in today's four hour strike have said industrial action is a last resort.

Edward Barr from Unite, Matthew Barker who is a porter, Fiona Powell, an NHS worker and midwives Liz Furness and Anita Marshall, have been speaking to ITV Yorkshire about why they chose to strike.

Eighty people on RVI picket line

Turnout at the entrance to the Royal Victoria Infirmary is about 80 people.

80 people protest at the RVI Credit: ITV

"I'm really impressed with the turnout. The atmosphere is absolutely fantastic and everyone is pulling together to make it clear to the Government that we deserve this pay rise."

– Rebecca Banks, who has been a midwife for 18 years

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Hunt: 'We absolutely will talk to unions'

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the government is prepared to talk to the striking NHS unions about the current pay rise dispute.

Jeremy Hunt Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

He said: "We will talk to them if they're prepared to look to reform the system of increments, which is unclear and unfair.

"I recognise frontline staff do a magnificent job in the NHS."

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Unison: 'Patient safety will remain paramount'

Unison's general secretary Dave Prentis has assured the public that patient safety will not be put at risk during today's strike action.

Dave Prentis the General Secretary of UNISON Credit: Philip Toscano/PA

He said: "What NHS workers also don't do is walk out on patients.

"Safety is paramount and we have been working with employers to ensure urgent patient care is not compromised."

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Hunt: Pay rise would mean 'letting go of 14,000 nurses'

If the government implemented the recommended pay rise for NHS staff at least 14,000 nurses would be laid off over the next two years, the health secretary said.

Jeremy Hunt told Good Morning Britain he would have "loved to have been more generous" but had been told in no uncertain terms a real terms pay rise would mean drastically reducing staff numbers.

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