By Ben Chapman
Published: 10/11/2022- 11:30
Updated: 14/02/2023- 10:32
Trending on GB News
Former editor of The Sun Kelvin MacKenzie has launched a furious attack on striking nurses in a Twitter rant.
Mr MacKenzie says nurses who are opting to strike are "sentencing people to death" after they voted in favour of industrial action that is expected to start by the end of the year.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said industrial action will take place in the NHS trusts or health boards that have met the legal requirements.
Many of the biggest hospitals in England will see strike action by RCN members but others narrowly missed the legal turnout thresholds to qualify for action.
Kelvin MacKenzie says he 'hates' striking nurses.
Image: GB News
All NHS employers in Northern Ireland and Scotland will be included and all bar one in Wales met the relevant legal thresholds.
Mr MacKenzie has hit out at the decision, saying: "Don't give me that angel s***. Those striking nurses are sentencing people to death. I hate them."
Industrial action is expected to begin before the end of this year and the RCN’s mandate to organise strikes runs until early May 2023, six months after members finished voting.
The ex-Sun editor continued: "Blood tests. Mammograms. Smear tests. Colonoscopies. Skin biopsies. X-rays. All will be halted. Cancer ops and the like will be delayed.
"The strikes will cause multiple deaths. Angels my a***. Rishi should go on the attack. Labour will support these death merchants."
Mr MacKenzie has called on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to introduce emergency legislation to block any strike action from the nurses.
"In the same way the police are banned from striking so should the nurses. If Sunak has anything about him he should bring in legislation tomorrow to stop these death merchants," he said.
"It's the right thing to do and forces Labour to show their true colours."
Nurse strike action may begin by the end of the year.
RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said: “Anger has become action – our members are saying enough is enough. The voice of nursing in the UK is strong and I will make sure it is heard. Our members will no longer tolerate a financial knife-edge at home and a raw deal at work.
“Ministers must look in the mirror and ask how long they will put nursing staff through this. While we plan our strike action, next week’s Budget is the UK Government’s opportunity to signal a new direction with serious investment. Across the country, politicians have the power to stop this now and at any point.
“This action will be as much for patients as it is for nurses. Standards are falling too low and we have strong public backing for our campaign to raise them. This winter, we are asking the public to show nursing staff you are with us.”
Health Secretary Steve Barclay described the results of the ballot as “disappointing”.
“We are all hugely grateful for the hard work and dedication of NHS staff, including nurses, and deeply regret that some union members have voted for industrial action,” he said.
“These are challenging times, which is why we accepted the recommendations of the independent NHS Pay Review Body in full and have given over one million NHS workers a pay rise of at least £1,400 this year.
“This is on top of a three percent pay increase last year when public sector pay was frozen and wider government support with the cost of living.
“Our priority is keeping patients safe during any strikes. The NHS has tried and tested plans in place to minimise disruption and ensure emergency services continue to operate.”