Labour health spokesman says he would back NHS staff in strike action over pay

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Labour’s shadow health secretary has said he will back NHS staff if they take industrial action over a 1 per cent pay offer from the government.

Jonathan Ashworth called on health secretary Matt Hancock to withdraw the offer and sit down with staff to discuss a multi-year settlement, which he said was essential to fill a 100,000 NHS vacancy gap.

And he said recruitment and retention of staff was a vital part of preparing the UK for future pandemics.

With epidemiologists warning that it will only be a matter of time before another novel illness hits, Mr Ashworth said it was no longer possible to run the NHS “on a shoestring” with little or no slack in the system to absorb unexpected demands.

Mr Ashworth’s comments come after a Savanta ComRes poll for The Independent found a majority of voters would support strike action by NHS nurses.

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