STRIKING nurses won’t get a pay rise, says Therese Coffey as doctors warn the NHS is “close to collapse”.
The Health Secretary yesterday said she will not bow to the demands of the Royal College of Nursing.
The NHS' biggest union is on the brink of its first ever strike in a ballot running until November.
Bosses say ministers’ offer of a four per cent pay rise does not keep pace with surging inflation – and want 17 per cent.
It comes as the British Medical Association warned hospitals face a crisis as half of consultants plan to take time out from the NHS next year.
Health Secretary Dr Coffey said on Sky News: “We have honoured the independent pay review body's recommendations on this.
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“That was higher than many of the other pay rises that other public sector workers are getting.
“I'm not anticipating that we'll be making any further changes.”
Pat Cullen, the RCN's general secretary, said: “This is an astonishing admission from the Health Secretary – she has already decided she won't be listening to our half a million members.
“Ms Coffey has her head firmly in the sand.
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"Nurses and support workers hearing this will be angry but it will make them even more determined.
“We have overwhelming public support to do what's fair by nursing staff and what's needed for safe patient care.”
Hospital doctors are also set to vote with their feet as waiting lists near a record 7million.
A British Medical Association poll found 44 per cent of consultants intend to quit or reduce NHS hours next year.
They blame below-inflation pay rises and high pension taxes.
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Dr Vishal Sharma, BMA spokesperson, said: “The goodwill of staff upon which the NHS depends has all but dried up.
“Without immediate action, the NHS is in danger of complete collapse.”
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