NHS radiographers could join medics next month in striking overtime pay, their union has confirmed.
Radiography is a broad staff group made up of NHS staff who operate essential diagnostic equipment such as X-rays and CT scans, as well as some professionals who use radiation as part of cancer treatments.
Employees from all these areas were now able to leave their jobs after the union, the Society of Radiographers, (SOR) confirmed a successful strike vote on wages today.
Some 43 trusts across England are expected to be affected by the union action, which is likely to take place next month.
This opens the door to a possible joint strike with the British Medical Association (BMA), which is holding its own record-breaking five-day strike by junior doctors from July 13 to 18.
Now NHS radiographers will strike with staff operating essential diagnostic equipment such as X-rays and CT scans and will likely stop paying next month
More than half a million NHS appointments in England have been canceled since December due to healthcare strikes, official figures show
Union sources hinted to MailOnline that such an alliance could be at stake, stating that the health services radiographers ‘stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow NHS professionals’.
With radiography professionals helping 9 out of 10 NHS patients with the scans needed to identify and help treat problems, any strike is likely to be a massive disruption to the healthcare system, the union says.
Elective care is also likely to decline massively, with a million patients believed to be waiting for an NHS radiography service.
The new move is just the latest blow to the union push for the beleaguered NHS, which has lost thousands of appointments and proceedings to staff strikes since late last year.
SOR officials said the government still had time to stop the strikes by offering them better wages after members rejected offers of a 5 percent wage increase.
Dean Rogers, SOR’s director of industrial strategy, said voting to strike was not an easy decision for any NHS worker, but added that the government had left them no choice.
?This is especially true for radiography professionals, who work long hours for wages that have lagged the average wage for years, to provide the best possible care to their patients,
‘The front-line radiography professionals know that low pay undermines efforts to create a stable NHS workforce with enough staff to ensure that all patients receive the best possible treatment.’
Mr Rogers said radiography professionals were a vital part of the NHS and patients were being let down by staff shortages.
?Doctors and nurses cannot do their jobs without our members ? the radiographers, sonographers, mammographers, therapy radiographers and radiology support staff,? he said.
“Waiting lists are growing and for a cancer patient waiting for diagnosis and radiation, even a two-week wait can mean the difference between life and death.”
He added that radiographers are currently working overtime to help patients but face lower real pay.
?While they are working longer, they have been facing real wage cuts since 2008,? he said.
‘The total average weekly wage has increased by 55 percent since 2008, but the wage increase of our members is less than half.’
Mr. Rogers added that as a result many radiographers are now voting with their feet.
“Many radiography professionals feel burned out by low wages and more hours,” he said.
“They’re leaving the NHS and they’re not being replaced in sufficient numbers.”
‘There is at least 10 percent vacancy ? since 2020 the number of mammographs has even increased by one.’
The NHS Long-Term Workforce Plan has been published today and is supported by ?2.4bn of government funding
They also lashed out at the NHS minister’s highly anticipated staffing plan, unveiled today by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
The union labeled it a plan for the future that does nothing to address the current shortage of radiography professionals.
While 150 SOR-voted trusts returned a result in support of a strike, only 43 reached a legal threshold in terms of turnout to make it valid for action.
It comes as the BMA is planning a five-day strike in July by junior medics, followed by a two-day strike by consultants on July 20 and 21.
New strikes come just days after the crippling NHS nurses labor dispute spiraled out of control after the Royal College of Nursing failed in its bid to launch another six months of carnage.
RCN bosses needed a new strike mandate to plan further action as their old one expired. But not enough members voted to pass the legal threshold.
Other aspects of the NHS Long-Term Workforce Plan unveiled by ministers today included a plan to reduce medical degrees from five to four years in a bid to put tens of thousands of extra doctors on hospital wards.
Ministers plan to use Brexit to change the rules on doctor training previously imposed by the EU.
The move is part of a package of measures to reduce waiting lists by strengthening the NHS workforce, with an additional 60,000 doctors and 170,000 additional nurses by 2036/37.
Bosses also expect an additional 71,000 paramedics, such as physiotherapists, midwives and pharmacists.
The blueprint warns that healthcare staffing shortages could more than triple over the next 15 years ? from 112,000 to 360,000 ? due to a growing and aging population, coupled with new treatments.
The NHS says it will try to embrace more homegrown talent and reduce reliance on foreign workers as competition for healthcare workers increases around the world.
It is also reducing its reliance on expensive temporary workers thanks to a record-breaking recruitment campaign, cutting the taxpayer bill by around ?10bn between 2030 and 2037.
NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard described it as a ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity to put staff on a sustainable footing and improve patient care’.
Where can NHS radiographers strike?
Here is the list of trusts where Society of Radiographers ballots were successful:
- Airedale NHS Foundation Trust
- Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
- Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust
- Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust
- Croydon Health Services NHS Trust
- Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust
- East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
- Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust
- Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital NHSFT
- Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust
- King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Liverpool Univ Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- NHS Cumbria
- NHS Manchester
- Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
- Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHSFT
- Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust
- Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust
- Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
- Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Solent NHS trust
- South Westminster Center for Health
- Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
- St George’s University Hospitals NHSFT
- St Helens & Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
- Suffolk Community Health Care
- The Clatterbridge Cancer Center NHSFT
- The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
- The Walton Center NHS Foundation Foundation
- Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust
- University College London Hospitals NHSFT
- University Hospital Southampton NHSFT
- University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHSFT
- University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
- University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust
- West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
- Whittington Health NHS Trust
- Wye Valley NHS Trust