Nurses strike: Lancashire Hospitals boss says ‘can’t be right’ staff use food banks

Video report by Granada Reports correspondent Tim Scott

The chief executive of one of the biggest NHS trusts in the North West says it "can't be right" that staff are having to access foodbanks.

It comes as nurses in parts of the North West begin a two-day widespread walkout in a dispute with the Government over pay.

  • Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust Chief Executive Kevin McGee says the "government and unions need to get round the table and sort this as soon as possible"

Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) are forming picket lines at 15 health trusts across the region.

This sees the strike widen out from Merseyside to include NHS sites in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire.

Nurses striking on a picket line outside the Royal Preston Hospital. Credit: ITV News

Ambulance staff have also announced another five days of strike action in a dispute of pay.

Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust Chief Executive Kevin McGee said: "Staff are working incredibly hard and no member of staff, be it nursing staff or any other member of staff wants to stand on the picket line.

"They don't train for that, they don't go into the profession for that so this is with a heavy heart that staff are doing undertaking these strikes."

"It can't be right that nurses and staff working in the NHS have to access foodbanks. That cannot be right," he added.

"We've done a lot of work with staff and unions to make sure that the impact is minimised.

"But undoubtedly with nurses on the picket line, there is some impact mainly on our planned services."

On a normal day Lancashire Teaching Hospitals would undertake around 140 elective day case procedures. An estimated 40 have been stood down.

Mr McGee says the trust is working with the staff and unions in a positive way and have minimised disruption to the general public.

"All emergency care is going and taking place as normal," he said.

"What we have done is every member of our communities who have a procedure that is going to be stood down, we have contacted them directly and we are making sure that we get that down quickly."

When asked whether he is concerned if the lives of patients are being put at risk, he said: "We've absolutely put procedures and processes in place to minimise any impact on patients.

"I'm confident that patient safety is being maintained at all cases, but there will be disruption to some patients as we have had to stand down some activity."

Mr McGee want the government and unions to "get round the table and sort this as soon as possible."

He added: "There is no doubt that how this has happened and the timing of these strikes is will cause disruption to patient care."

"We need to look after our communities and staff on our wards safely."

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