Radiography workers at the Royal Free Hospital in central London struck on Thursday of last week against forced shift patterns linked to privatisation.
The workers, who are in the Society of Radiographers (SoR), process and establish results of X-rays, MRI and CT scans.
They are up in arms after being asked to set aside an hour every day to scan private patients. An overwhelming 98 percent voted for strikes on an 85 percent turnout in a recent ballot.
Strikers said that NHS patients will be forced to wait “whatever their condition” while those who can pay for private care skip the queue.
They added that Royal Free hospital bosses have “totally ignored” problems they have raised.
Strikers leafleted the public and other workers outside the hospital during the strike. Since 2009 there has been an increase of almost £5 million from private patients at the hospital.
The strike came as two new private clinics have grabbed space inside the Royal Free. Private patients are promised luxury care with views across Hampstead Heath, satellite television and on-call nurses.
The reality of privatised health care has already been shown up in radiography. Earlier this year private firm Care UK was exposed as having failed to process 6,000 X-rays at an “urgent care centre” it runs in London.
The Tories are pushing a privatisation agenda throughout the health service. Yet the Royal Free strike shows how workers can defend the NHS and health workers’ jobs, terms and conditions.