Nurses strikes: Which hospitals in the North East are affected?

Nurses joined a picket line outside Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary on the first day of strike action. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Nurses in the North East are among those on picket lines as they go on strike for the first time.

Tens of thousands of NHS nurses have gone on strike across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in a dispute over pay.

North East bosses say they have plans in place to deal with the disruption.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has said it will staff chemotherapy, emergency cancer services, dialysis, critical care units, neonatal and paediatric intensive care.

Dr Neil O'Brien, executive medical director for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board, said: "Our priority is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our patients and staff.

"We have been working extremely hard in recent weeks to plan for this strike, and detailed plans are in place at each affected hospital."

Which trusts are affected?

Three NHS hospital trusts in the North East - Gateshead's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Newcastle Hospitals and those run by Northumbria Healthcare - are being affected by the action.

Nurses at health trusts in County Durham, Darlington, Teesside and Sunderland are not taking part in the strike.

Why are nurses on strike?

The RCN has been calling for a pay rise at 5% above inflation, though it has indicated it would accept a lower offer.

When it submitted the 5% figure to the independent pay review body in March, inflation was running at 7.5%. Since then, inflation has soared, with RPI standing at 14.2% in September.

The union has argued that low pay is driving “chronic understaffing” which puts patients at risk and leaves nursing staff overworked, underpaid and undervalued.

When are the strikes taking place?

The strikes will be taking place on Thursday 15 and Tuesday 20 December.

They will last for 12 hours but health bosses warn that it may take time for services to return to normal afterwards.

What services will be operating?

Urgent and emergency care services will still be staffed and anyone dealing with someone who is seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk should call 999.

GP practices, urgent treatment centres, dentists and community pharmacies will not be affected by the strike action and will be operating as normal.

Patients are being urged to attend appointments unless they hear otherwise. Credit: ITV News

What if I need non-emergency treatment during the strikes?

Anyone who requires non-emergency care should contact 111, visit nhs.uk, contact their GP or see their pharmacist.

Health bosses are warning that anyone who attends the emergency department with minor illness could face a long wait as more serious cases will be prioritised.

What will it mean for appointments?

Patients are being told to attend appointments as planned unless they are told otherwise by the NHS.

Hospitals will contact anyone whose procedure or appointment is being affected by the strike action.

Health bosses say they will be seeking to re-arrange postponed appointments "as a priority."

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