The Scottish Government and Welsh Parliament have urged the UK Government to increase the amount of funding available for NHS pay.
Ahead of the Autumn statement, Humza Yousaf and Welsh minister Eluned Morgan have written to UK health secretary Steve Barclay to ask for additional funding to help avert strike action this winter in the NHS.
It comes after members of the UK’s largest nursing union voted overwhelmingly to walk out over an ongoing dispute around pay and conditions last week.
It’s the first time in the history of the NHS that nurses are set to strike, but they say the cost of living crisis and staffing pressures have left them with no option.
Paramedics and ambulance crew members have announced dates for industrial action with others planning to work to rule.
Scottish Ambulance Service staff are the latest public sector workers to announce they will walk out amid the cost of living crisis.
The joint letter said that “the risk to the NHS of industrial action this winter is profound” and “is likely to have catastrophic effects in all parts of the UK”.
It added that the cost of living crisis, including “sky rocketing inflation combined with high interest rates” was a direct result of “havoc” caused by former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini budget.
The governments said that they “are simply unable to come close to matching the expectations of NHS staff across the country”.
The letter read: “While the support provided by the UK Government on areas such as support for energy bills is welcome, it has not gone nearly far enough.
“Media reports suggest that the Chancellor is considering reimposing austerity on the people of the UK again, for which there is no mandate, through extensive spending cuts. That would be a disaster for our public services, including the NHS, at a time when they need more investment, not less.
“We would therefore implore you to work with us to make the case to the Chancellor in advance of his Autumn Statement for increased funding for the NHS and the devolved governments as a whole, primarily to pay our hard working NHS staff a fair pay rise in the face of the cost of living crisis this winter, and avoid what could be catastrophic industrial action in the NHS.”
The UK Government has been contacted for comment.
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