NURSES and ambulance workers joined forces on the picket lines as they went on strike today.

St Helens and Knowsley Hospital NHS Trust staff were outside Whiston Hospital today, Monday, February 6, as they continued to fight for what they believe would be fair pay and improved working conditions.  

There have already been strike days from nurses and ambulance workers, however, today both took part in the industrial action predicted to be the biggest the NHS has seen.

READ MORE > St Helens & Knowsley NHS Trust's advice for patients amid strike

Strikers were gathered at the Whiston picket line, with passing drivers beeping horns to encourage support for the NHS staff.

St Helens Star: NHS nurses stood alongside ambulance workers outside Whiston HospitalNHS nurses stood alongside ambulance workers outside Whiston Hospital (Image: St Helens Star)

Vanessa Taylor, 49, is a practice educator who is fighting for safety.

Vanessa said: "We’re here for patients’ safety, staff safety, and support; it’s what we need.

"The support from the public keeps you going and keeps your spirits up, and seeing that people are feeling the same feelings as us; that we need more support that we’re not getting from the government.

"They need to listen to us; we wouldn’t be stood outside the hospital, we’d be in there if we didn’t have a serious concern."

51-year-old Kerry Pennington-Haigh, sister in the intensive care unit, told the Star how a drop in recruitment had put added pressure on current staff.

Kerry said: "We’re doing it for the future and for patients' safety.

"To retain and recruit staff, we need to have a fair wage, certainly for the junior staff coming in. Student nurses who are paying for their degree and working, they’re not like other students who can enjoy themselves a lot, they’re also working really hard.

"At the end of the day, it’s about patient safety, so to get the numbers we need more nurses."

St Helens Star: The NHS workers are calling on the Government to improve conditionsThe NHS workers are calling on the Government to improve conditions (Image: St Helens Star)

Others on the frontline described what they are seeing on a day-to-day basis as heartbreaking and that they are fighting for what they all came into nursing for.

St Helens Star: Strikers were outside Whiston Hospital this morningStrikers were outside Whiston Hospital this morning (Image: St Helens Star)

Ambulance care assistants Gemma and Claire, 45 and 52, stood alongside nurses this morning as they also fight for fair working conditions.

Gemma said: "The NHS is in crisis and it has been for a long time now; we see it on a day-to-day basis, but it’s good that it’s now being recognised as well by the public just how bad things have got for the health service.

"We’re all fighting for the same thing. Staff are leaving because the workload has just gone too much and we all signed up because we care and because we want to care for the patients, and when you can’t do that, it makes you question why you’re actually doing the job; it’s not the same job anymore.

St Helens Star: Gemma and Claire no longer have time to care for patients the way they want to Gemma and Claire no longer have time to care for patients the way they want to (Image: St Helens Star)

"Everything now is about time and there’s no longer time for you to care properly for people.

"We take people home when they’ve been in hospital, and when I first joined we used to make them a cup of tea and make sure they had food in, but we don’t have time for that now. There’s a lot of time where we take people home and we have to leave them in an empty house because we don’t have the time to care for them in the way we want to and it’s heartbreaking."

For non-urgent conditions, people are asked to visit NHS 111 online for advice: and use alternative services available.