Search

Radiographers at Royal Free and Whittington hospitals strike for first time since 1980s

PUBLISHED: 11:06 20 October 2014 | UPDATED: 18:32 22 October 2014

The Society of Radiographers official picket outside the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead. Picture: Polly Hancock

The Society of Radiographers official picket outside the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead. Picture: Polly Hancock

Polly Hancock

Radiographers from the Royal Free and Whittington hospitals took to the picket line for the first time in a generation as frustration over NHS pay freezes reached breaking point.

Radiographers on strike at the Whittington Hospital. Picture: Polly Hancock Radiographers on strike at the Whittington Hospital. Picture: Polly Hancock

Placards declaring “No Raise, No Rays” were proudly waved as radiographers took industrial action for the first time since the early 1980s today.

The x-ray and imaging services they provide are vital to the work of a hospital and cancer treatment centres were affected during the four-hour walkout from 9am to 1pm.

But emergency and urgent care at the hospitals continued as the Society for Radiographers, which called the industrial action, ensured some staff continued to work so patient safety was not at risk.

Its members will continue to work to rule for the rest of the week in protest over the government’s refusal to accept a one per cent pay rise for NHS staff as recommended by the independent Pay Review Body.

Whittington Hospital radiographer Tanya Richards said 'It feels like the government is trying to fund the NHS with our wages'. Picture: Polly Hancock Whittington Hospital radiographer Tanya Richards said 'It feels like the government is trying to fund the NHS with our wages'. Picture: Polly Hancock

Local radiographers said a demoralising spiral of reduced pay, the rising cost of living and increased working hours had contributed to their decision to join the picket line.

Tanya Richards, a radiographer at the Whittington for 11 years, who lives in Holloway, said: “We feel that after five years of pay freezes, enough is enough.

“It’s the equivalent of about £2,000 per person that we’ve missed out on, it’s effectively a pay cut.

“It feels like the government is trying to fund the NHS with our wages.

“It’s not the way to fund it and enough is enough.”

The 33-year-old, who is the industrial relations rep for the Society of Radiographers at the Whittington, said staff have been forced to take weekend shifts at other hospitals and work seven- day weeks to balance the books.

Others simply leave the NHS for positions in the private sector.

“You end up finding that a lot of health care professionals like myself end up leaving London because they can’t afford to live here,” said Miss Richards.

“You end up picking up extra shifts and working more in order to fill that gap.

“I’m from Manchester and I know if I moved back I’d be better off.”

The picture was echoed at the Royal Free Hospital in Pond Street, Hampstead, were morale among the radiography department was described as “very, very low”.
Scott Robinson, 36, a radiographer at the hospital for 15 years and industrial relations rep for the society at the Royal Free, said: “Radiographers are really clambering over themselves to get shifts covering sickness and things like that to get some extra money, even if it’s only a couple of hours here and there.”

He added: “This is the first time in about 30 years that the recommendation of the Pay Review Body has been ignored completely by the government.

“The government is refusing to meet to discuss this with the unions, which is why it’s come to this. A lot of people have found it very difficult to walk out today, but it has just come to a point where we have to take a stand.”

The Pay Review Body makes recommendations on NHS salaries independent of government and the unions.

The Society of Radiographers has warned of further walkouts if the bitter dispute is not resolved.

The strike follows a huge turnout at TUC organised protests in London on Saturday and the first ever industrial action by midwives last week.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “We are disappointed that trade unions are taking industrial action.

“NHS staff are our greatest asset, and we’ve increased the NHS budget to pay for over 12,500 more clinical staff since 2010.

“We cannot afford a pay rise in addition to increments – which disproportionately reward the highest earners – without risking frontline jobs.”

Related links:

- Case study NHS pay dispute: ‘We almost went under, my wife was forced into early retirement to keep us afloat’

- Nurses and midwives at the Royal Free and Whittington strike over pay

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 13:34

Camden Council is set to increase council tax next year by nearly five per cent.

Yesterday, 10:58

Jailed mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe ‘can see some light’ at the end of the tunnel after she avoided being dragged back to court following a visit by foreign secretary Boris Johnson to her family in Iran.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Weather warnings have been issued across London following heavy snowfall overnight and this morning.

Friday, December 8, 2017

A man in his 60s has died after a fire at a ground floor flat in Alexandra Place, St John’s Wood this morning.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Boris Johnson will be visiting Iran this weekend, and will push to get West Hampstead mum Nazanin freed from prison.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell CBE was a guest of honour at the JW3 annual fundraising dinner.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Hampstead lawyer Jessica Learmond Criqui writes a letter on the situation regarding ‘disappeared’ Arman bin Quasem in Bangladesh

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Six Camden Tories were running for charity rather than for office last weekend, as they raised over £1500 for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

PROMOTED CONTENT

One of London’s most popular animal welfare charities rolled out the red carpet for glamorous guests and their beloved pet dogs as their annual fundraiser returned.

An opportunity of a lifetime has arisen for media-savvy students at City of Westminster College and the College of North West London.

Education editor James Scott speaks to Sarah Creasey about life as headteacher of Parliament Hill School.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now