Union boss warns Barclay will ‘carry the can’ if patients suffer due to strikes

Unite leader Sharon Graham has said that the Health Secretary will have to “carry the can” if patients suffer as a result of widespread NHS strikes.

Graham also said Steve Barclay will get a “rude awakening” if he refuses to negotiate on pay, as she insisted the unions will not “blink first” to break the deadlock.

Mr Barclay has said his top priority is keeping patients safe as the NHS braces for major disruption in the run up to Christmas, with nurses and ambulance crews set to walk out on consecutive days this week. He put the onus on unions to ensure they “meet their obligations” for “sufficient” emergency cover so that people in crisis get the care they need.

But Ms Graham, whose union is co-ordinating the ambulance strikes with Unison and GMB, said he will “have to carry the can if patients suffer”.

Full story in The Independent, 19 December 2022