Radiographers at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust have been on strike yesterday and will be again today (Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th of July) following unsuccessful talks between The Society of Radiographers and the government.
The picket line consisted of radiographers dressed as skeletons as they hoped to attract public attention and shine a light on their fight for better pay and recognition of the radiography workforce.
Their department at Torbay Hospital was a bare bones operation with only life and limb cover, which is similar to staffing levels on a bank holiday, being provided.
The strike impacted those living across Devon as it also affected services at community hospitals in Totnes and Newton Abbot. Local MPs, Kevin Foster, Anthony Mangnall and Anne Marie Morris were all invited to visit the picket line, as were all local authority representatives from Torbay, South Hams and Teignbridge councils.
The Society of Radiographers has stated that its members are not only taking a stand for their pay and conditions but also for their patients. They are calling on the government to implement a workforce plan that tackles the current crisis; improve starting pay; agree a plan for pay restoration; and develop a strategy to end the long-hours culture and dependence on agencies.
Lillie Marshall, representative for The Society of Radiographers at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust said:
“Taking strike action is never an easy decision and many of those who have cannot afford to lose their wages.
“However, if the government doesn’t do something to tackle the recruitment and retention crisis in radiography, then things are only going to get worse for both radiographers and patients.
“Investing in and growing the radiography professional workforce would dramatically cut waiting lists. This would improve outcomes for patients, boost the wellbeing of the radiography workforce and save the NHS millions in agency fees by improving direct recruitment and retention.
“Thank you to everyone who has shown us their support so far and we hope the government is listening.”
Cllr Julian Brazil, Leader of South Hams District Council, said: “I fully support the Radiographers. Like other NHS workers, I see the radiographers strike as a strike to save the NHS. I thought things would be different after the pandemic but it’s back to as it was before. Corporate greed continues unabated, while key workers are forced to use food banks”
Cllr Steve Darling, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Torbay Council and Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, said:
“It was enlightening to meet our radiographers from our local NHS in Torbay and South Devon. It was disturbing to hear how they are having to work long hours with chronic understaffing and long waiting lists due to uncompetitive wages in an international health market. Ministers need to come down from their ivory towers and meet with these workers to develop a clear solution to this crisis in our NHS that has been brewing for years.”
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