Terminal cancer patient joins strike nurses on picket line to help them 'get the pay rise they want'

Allan Scott told ITV News Anglia that nurses are "under-resourced, understaffed and underpaid."

A 70-year-old man with terminal cancer who joined a strike picket line says he hopes he lives to see nurses get the pay rise they want.

Tens of thousands of nurses walked out across the country again on Tuesday in the ongoing dispute between unions and the government.

Nurses were joined by 70-year-old Allan Scott on the picket line outside the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

Mr Scott was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer in August last year and given two to three years to live while receiving treatment.

Mr Scott, from Hitcham near Stowmarket, Suffolk, is on his second round of chemotherapy.

He said that although his treatment had not yet been delayed by the strikes, he would not care if it were.

"I'm going into the hospital every one or two weeks and can see for myself what is happening," Mr Scott said.

"They're under-resourced, understaffed and underpaid.

"They're stretched to the limit, but they're still giving me this fantastic level of care, so I'm not complaining about that."

Allan Scott's message to the government over the nursing pay dispute:

Monday’s industrial action marks the first time both nurses and paramedics have staged stoppages on the same day during the current wave of disputes.

Mr Scott demanded action from the government over the pay row and said: "I hope I live to see the day that [the nurses] get the pay rise they want.

"We're at an existential point now looking at how they've been resourced over successive years.

"[The nurses] are here because they want to give safe care to their patients.

"I want the level of care that I'm receiving now to continue for my nieces and nephews in future generations. To do that you're going to need to take some action now.

"I would ask the government to make a decision, at the very least sit and talk to [the nurses] about the issues they're facing."

Helen Cockerill, a nurse at the West Suffolk Hospital, was on a picket line on Monday. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Helen Cockerill was one of the nurses on the picket line at the West Suffolk Hospital.

Ms Cockerill said: "20 years of nursing within the NHS and I just have felt a really big shift in the level of care we're able to provide and the morale of staff.

"People are tired and fed up. After spending years of saying I would never strike, I've got to the point now where I don't think I have any choice and I need to stand up for our patients and staff."

Health Secretary and North East Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay said the government “wants to work constructively” with unions amid the biggest walkout in NHS history.

Speaking during a visit to Kingston Hospital, south-west London, Mr Barclay defended the government’s position that awarding a pay rise could make inflation worse.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

He said: “Just a few days ago, the Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey said that wages are a factor in the bank’s approach in terms of inflation and interest rates.

“But it’s right that we have an independent process.

“We accepted in full the recommendations made last year, we’re now submitting evidence to the pay review body for April and onwards.

“We want to work constructively with the trade unions in terms of this evidence, and that’s why we’ve been discussing these issues with them.”

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) – which is staging two days of action – said that it was calling out twice as many of its members as it did during earlier strikes in December and January.

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