Members of the Royal College of Nursing are striking today in Brecon, citing working conditions as a main factor. People gathered outside the Brecon War Memorial Hospital, holding placards reading 'staff shortages cost lives', and 'it's time to pay nursing staff fairly'.

The strike comes after a majority of eligible members voted to reject the latest Welsh government NHS pay offer in a recent ballot run by the RCN.

The rejection prompted RCN Wales Director Helen Whyley to write to the Minister for Health and Social Services to urgently re-open NHS pay negotiations. After receiving no response in Wales, members of health boards around the country are making their voices heard.

"Until the Minister for Health and Social Services re-opens meaningful negotiations to try to resolve our dispute, we will, once again, stand shoulder to shoulder on the picket lines across Wales." Ms Whyley said. "If two consecutive days of strike action still does not shake Welsh government to listen to the voice of nursing in Wales and take actions to resolve our dispute, we will return to the picket lines once again in July."

Outside the Brecon War Memorial Hospital, a spokesperson said: "It's not about money. It's about conditions. Keeping patients safe and retaining future nurses. It's building a future after Covid."

"Nursing makes up the largest portion of the NHS." Ms Whyley added. "The Welsh government should heed our concerns about patients' safety and wellbeing and the nursing profession's future."

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "While we recognise the strength of feeling among members, we are disappointed that strike action is continuing despite the collective decision to accept the Agenda for Change pay offer by the Wales Partnership Forum Business Committee.

“We are working with the NHS, unions and partners to ensure life-saving and life-maintaining care is provided during the industrial action, patient safety is maintained and disruption is minimised. But it is vital that all of us do all we can to minimise pressure on our health service during the industrial action and consider carefully what activities we take part in. Anyone in immediate danger should call 999 and we encourage people to use the NHS 111 Wales website for health advice where there is no immediate threat to life, or speak to or visit a pharmacist, GP or minor injuries unit.”