STRIKING nurses this morning broke their picket line in order to give emergency first aid to a man who collapsed.
Healthcare workers up and down the country are today striking in a row over pay.
Thousands have braved the freezing conditions this morning, with a third of hospitals in England taking part.
But despite trying to secure a better rate of pay, nurses at Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) ditched their placards in order to provide first aid to one man.
The patient was put into the recovery position and was visibly shaking on the ground outside – as temperatures dropped as low as -8 degrees.
Staff working at BRI came out to collect the patient, putting him on a spinal board and lifting him onto a stretcher.
The striking nurses returned to the picket line shortly afterwards.
The 12-hour strike comes after nurses were offered just a 4.75 per cent pay rise – well below inflation.
There will be 65 trusts affected in the first round, including 45 hospital trusts and 20 community, ambulance and admin organisations.
The South West is set to be the worst hit part of England, with 13 employers taking part in the first strikes.
Talking about the strikes Paula Byrne, 58, a nurse specialist, said: ”I’ve been a nurse for 40 years next year and I have real concerns, among myself and my colleagues, about the future of nursing.
”Daily we’re seeing nurses working under great stress with great challenge, and contributing an enormous amount of charity and good will, to maintain patient care so that’s a real concern for me.”
She said: “You’re seeing burnouts, you’re seeing thousands of nurse leaving the profession.
”What we have seen over the last ten years is austerity, austerity measures, public sector pay cuts, rising costs and we find that nurses now their daily living and quality of living has gone downhill.”
She adds: ”The staffing in the NHS is the most valuable asset is has – so if you don’t protect that assess, we’re not going to have a future in healthcare because there won’t be any nurses.
”This isn’t about making things difficult for patients, though we do appreciate that there’s going to be some suffering involved.”
Strikes will be allowed in maternity wards, intensive care, transplant clinics and end-of-life care as long as there is at least a bank holiday level of staffing.
CEO Amanda Pritchard admitted there will be cancellations because of industrial action but said patients would be told “sooner rather than later”.
Saffron Cordery, chief of NHS Providers, said: “Trusts affected will do everything they can to minimise disruption for patients.
“Their priorities remain ensuring the safe delivery of care and supporting the wellbeing of staff.”
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: “The NHS has tried and tested plans in place to minimise disruption and ensure emergency services continue to operate.”
Find the full list of NHS hospitals where nurses are on strike today.
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