David Starkey launches BLISTERING attack on nurses over strike - 'Your duty is to your patients not yourself!'

Historian David Starkey has lashed out at striking nurses and told them to remember their "duty"

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The 77-year-old claimed there had been a "coup" in the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) and warned the burgeoning NHS was gradually "taking over Britain".

Talking to Bev Turner on GB News, the television presenter said: “I think the really interesting thing is to look at the history of the Royal College of Nurses. A name like that, this was not and was never intended to be a trade union.

“It was founded in the middle of the First World War in 1916. The intention was to turn nursing into a serious profession – that’s why it’s called the College.

“But what we’ve seen is an organisation that’s turned its back on its history.

Nurses across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are striking over a pay dispute
Nurses across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are striking over a pay dispute

“The Royal College embodied the notion that nursing was a vocation and that your absolute duty was to your patient and not to yourself.

“There’s been a coup in the organisation in the last few years with the emergence of Pat Cullen, as the General Secretary, and that has represented standing the entire tradition of nursing on its head.”

The largest strike by nurses in NHS history got underway today as thousands walked out across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Staff will continue to provide some urgent care including chemotherapy, emergency cancer services, dialysis, critical care units, neonatal and paediatric intensive care but around 70,000 appointments, procedures and surgeries will be cancelled.

Ahead of the strikes the RCN had been calling for a pay rise at 5 per cent above inflation, though it has indicated it would accept a lower offer. The UK government said the RCN's 19 per cent pay rise demand was unaffordable.

The health service will be running a bank holiday-style service in many areas as nurses on the picket line outside St Thomas’ Hospital in Westminster, hold placards with messages such as “It’s time to pay nursing staff a fair wage”.

Mr Starkey added: “They’re [nurses] not going to go away, and they mustn’t go away for obvious reasons. “What Steve Barclay is doing is something very remarkable, he is the first minister to begin to grasp the problem that faces this country.

The strike is the biggest in NHS history
The strike is the biggest in NHS history

“Nobody has noticed it, it’s fascinating. Remember politicians in theory have no control over the NHS at all, apart from setting its budget.

“It’s deranged - it’s run as a kind of quango and what he has insisted is that the heads of that quango all come into his office and work with him.

“For the first time it’s a sign of somebody actually grasping the fundamental problem, let’s put this into perspective, the NHS is started to take over Britain, if you actually look at Government expenditure, it’s 40 percent and rising.

“If it continues at its current trajectory, the NHS will be over 50 percent.”