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Just two days in a row, soon three: the British health service is expanding staff strikes in the NHS. It will be ugly – and potentially deadly.

Extreme mortality is one of the technical terms that is on everyone’s lips at the height of the corona pandemic. Discussions about it are now dead in many countries. Not so in England.

Authorities reported more than 20 percent more deaths last year than the five-year average – excluding the 2020 Corona year – would suggest. There is talk of 44,000 “extra dead”, which is a terrible formulation.

This Brexit and Corona severely weakened the British healthcare system:

There was a queue for hours in front of the emergency services.

The question “why” calls the Royal Society of Emergency Physicians to the scene. He explains that 500 patients die unnecessarily every week as ambulances are now lining up in front of emergency services.

There are hours of waiting in front of crowded hospitals. It takes about an hour and a half for paramedics to arrive after a heart attack.

These numbers are alarming. And the result is clear: the NHS patient is in intensive care, and not everyone who works with them knows how to overcome the crisis. There are nearly seven million patients waiting for the necessary treatment.

A national temple is collapsing

Part of NHS England’s inventory, tax-funded healthcare for all is part of national pride. However, in St. Thomas Hospital, very little remains of the pickets – this was demonstrated in Monday’s final strike.

About 70 strikers stood in the heart of the capital this cold February afternoon. “The NHS is collapsing,” said Catherine Mills, nurse of 25 years. “Your largest group of workers and many of us can no longer get by on their paychecks,” Mills said.

After work we go to the board. And many of our colleagues prefer to work in the supermarket and now leave us because they pay significantly more.

Catherine Mills, Nurse

No matter who you spoke to here, the anger was palpable. “During the pandemic, we thought it couldn’t get any worse. But it is,” Mills complains. And the government doesn’t even want to negotiate with them. It’s a pity, he adds.

The biggest strike in over a decade began in Great Britain last Wednesday:

50,000 open positions in the maintenance industry

Nearly 50,000 vacancies are available in the nursing industry. The current situation leads to a vicious circle. Fewer and fewer people are interested in a job, and more and more nurses are resigning and quitting. This further increases the workload and thus the dissatisfaction of those who remain.

And all this against the background of the austerity policies of the last decade and the currently exploding inflation, which is causing real wages to fall. Unions estimate a decline of 10 to 20 percent, depending on the occupational group.

The government remains stubborn

Strikes have been increasing since December 15, the first day of strikes in the 100-year history of the nurses association “Royal College of Nursing”. But the government only wants to talk about a moderate wage increase. He explained that doing the opposite would increase inflation even more.

It’s a thesis that most economists view critically. “First of all, Prime Minister Sunak needs to show strength,” explains economic correspondent Anne McElvoy of The Economist.

He preaches frugality in the face of vacant households and comes close to meeting demand for a 19 percent increase in wages.

Anne McElvoy, “The Economist”

And Rishi Sunak, who is actually an unwanted prime minister in his party, is still not quite in the saddle. But McElvoy explains that it was surprising that his government did not want to sit down with the union. Especially since the medical staff is celebrated by politicians during the pandemic and the majority of the population still supports their demands.

Nurses ‘have nothing to lose’

No bowing on either side. “We’re going to attack it to the hilt,” explains ICU nurse Kati Harris.

We will continue to stay here until something changes.

Kati Harris, intensive care nurse

If not, destroy everything anyway. “We have nothing to lose,” he says. Strikers, St. He explains that Thomas Hospitals operates solely on the goodwill and needs of workers. Willing to work 14 hour shifts to ensure all patients are cared for. Because many of them would work seven days a week to earn enough.

To cheer themselves up, they tell the story of Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Norfolk. It needs to be supported by more than 1,000 feet to prevent it from collapsing. Because about ten billion euros from the NHS budget had to be diverted to acute care for necessary repairs. This is called gallows humor on the NHS.

Source: ZDF

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