Wednesday saw the start of two days of strike action by nurses in Somerset. 

The two-day walkout involves nurses from hospital trusts across the country, including the Somerset NHS Foundation Trust which runs Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton. 

A spokesperson for NHS Somerset said: “We are working with teams to minimise disruption.” 

They added: “We are advising patients to attend their appointments unless they have been told otherwise.” 

In a statement the trust said: “The industrial action is a national dispute between the Government and Trades Unions about terms and conditions.” 

The Trust issued the following advice to patients: “If you have an appointment, please attend as planned. Please don’t call to check if your appointment is going ahead. If your appointment is affected by industrial action, we will contact you directly.” 

Further guidance can be found on the NHS Somerset Foundation Trust website. 

There is understood to be a picket by members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) outside the hospital. 

The RCN has declared its intention for another wave of strikes over February 6 and 7. The union said in a press release: “If progress is not made by the end of January, RCN members in England and Wales will strike again for 12 hours on both Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 February 2023.” 

"Ahead of February’s action, further strikes are planned in England on Wednesday and Thursday this week. Nursing staff will strike at 55 NHS trusts in England that were not part of December’s first wave of industrial action. The RCN held its first-ever national strike last month (December).” 

Nurses at the Somerset trust did not strike in December, so Wednesday action is the first time that Musgrove Park Hospital has seen nurses go on strike. 

When asked if they expected today’s strike action to cause disruption for patients, a spokesperson for the RCN replied: “Yes, yes.”

The stoppages come amidst a wave of industrial action. Ambulance workers of the South Western Ambulance Service which covers Taunton are set to walk out for the second time this month on January 23. 

It comes after the UNISON, Unite and GMB unions staged a combined walkout of 25,000 ambulance workers in December, the biggest such strike in three decades.