Nurse strike UK: Mural shows Rishi Sunak clapping as NHS staff queue for food bank

The mural, painted by street artist Sledone, is on North Street in Bedminster, Bristol.
The mural has been unveiled in south Bristol today Credit: ITV News

A mural has been painted in south Bristol showing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak clapping as nurses queue outside a closed food bank.

The artwork has been painted to coincide with the nursing strike in the UK today (15 December).

Tens of thousands of nurses across the UK are striking, with around a quarter of hospitals and community teams in England taking part alongside all trusts in Northern Ireland and all but one health board in Wales.

It comes as the Government is sticking to the recommendations of the independent pay review body which said nurses should get a pay rise of around £1,400.

But the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has been calling for a pay rise at 5% above inflation, though it has indicated it would accept a lower offer.

Campaign group If Not Now is behind the nursing mural unveiled on an empty shop in North Street in the Bedminster area of Bristol today.

It was painted by artist Slendone in collaboration with Bristol street art festival Upfest.

If Not Now were also behind the graffiti mural of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson kissing in Bristol in 2016 Credit: PA

'Claps don't pay the bills'

If Not Now co-founder and director Hanna Henshall said: "Like most people in the UK, the NHS holds a very special place in my heart and has helped many of my family members and friends in their time of need.

"It’s heartbreaking that nurses are increasingly having to rely on food banks to get by. Rishi Sunak should be offering fair pay and better working conditions. Claps don’t pay the bills.

"We know the public stands shoulder to shoulder with nursing staff, who for years have been forced to accept real terms pay cuts on top of worsening conditions for both staff and patients.

"They’ve cared for us. It’s time we cared for them.”

The mural has been painted to coincide with the nurses strike Credit: ITV News

Nikki, 32, is a nurse from Bristol who is striking today.

She said: "Nurses aren’t just striking for money in our pockets, nor is this about self-gain.

"It’s to get patients to be seen quicker, to be treated with more dignity and to receive the care they deserve. We want to be able to take the time with our patients, but this is made impossible when we're overstretched and overworked.

"We also want to make the job appealing for younger people so the working force and training can improve. That is what we are striking for.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…