'It's an abdication of his responsibility', says Jonathan Ashworth as Rishi Sunak fails to resolve NHS pay dispute

17 February 2023, 13:21

Jon Ashworth condemns Rishi Sunak for failure to stop impending strikes

Madeleine Wilson

By Madeleine Wilson

Jonathan Ashworth threw shade at Rishi Sunak before a caller told him the "absolutely terrible" working conditions within the NHS caused his partner's colleagues' PTSD.

Filling in for James O'Brien, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Ashworth spoke to listeners after Wes Streeting, the Shadow Health Secretary said he is "flabbergasted" that Rishi Sunak hasn't put a stop to the nurse's pay dispute after three months.

Jonathan heard from a caller who said retention of NHS staff is poor due to its working conditions being “absolutely terrible”.

He continued to tell Jonathan that his girlfriend, who is a mental health therapist for the NHS has "seen people with PTSD" from working in the NHS.

READ MORE: Nurses to stage 48-hour walkout which will include A&E workers as a dispute over pay and staff escalates

Jonathan Ashworth throws shade at the Health Secretary

He later said: "The only way you’re going to actually staff these vacancies is if the salaries are at least good enough for people to have a decent standard of living.

"So you need to do something, and the government just not getting involved and not doing anything and saying they’re obeying the independent review body when actually they have disregarded the pay review body in the past, is just a cop-out.

Jonathan replied: “Absolutely, the secretary of state sets terms and conditions in the national health service and refuses to engage in meaningful negotiation is an abdication of his responsibility and if these strikes go ahead.

"And I don’t want to see these strikes go ahead let me be clear, the Labour Party doesn't want to see strikes go ahead, we want to see Rishi Sunak and his ministers negotiate seriously with NHS staff.”

READ MORE: 'You're putting more lives at risk' unions warned as NHS strikes risk causing 'worst day of disruption yet'