DIAGNOSTIC imaging and radiotherapy professionals who are members of the Society of Radiographers will take part in a UK-wide strike for the first time in more than 30 years.
Following a ballot in which 53.7% of members who work in the NHS voted in favour of strike action, the Society’s UK Council has called on radiographers to stop work for four hours on Monday, 20 October.
In addition, SoR members will work-to-rule for the remainder of that week. Emergency care will continue to be provided but pre-booked appointments and procedures may be affected
“Radiographers who work in the NHS in the four countries of the UK will participate,” said Richard Evans, the Society’s chief executive officer.
“There is the possibility of more action by radiographers in the future. The anger that they and other health professionals feel is very strong,” he continued.
The action is being taken by members of the Society and many other NHS trade unions because of an ongoing pay freeze. The government rejected a recommended 1% pay rise for the current year and Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary for England, has said that there will be no increase in 2015. The pay freeze will have been imposed for four out of five years.
“Radiographers will try and keep the effect on patients to a minimum but radiographers and other healthcare workers have got to the stage that they feel there is no alternative,” Richard Evans commented.
“Because of inflation, staff in the NHS have been taking a year-on-year pay cut. Unless we show the government that we are serious about our claim that NHS staff should be treated fairly, they will continue to take advantage of our goodwill,” he continued.
“There is a shortage of radiographers, which already has an effect on the timely delivery of diagnostic examinations and the treatment of cancer, which has direct negative consequences on patients.
“Without reasonable and proper recognition of the work that they do, it is increasingly likely that qualified professionals will leave radiography and it will become even more difficult to recruit the additional people which are needed.”