The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023 allows the Secretary of State to make regulations to establish minimum service levels for relevant services in the event of strike action. They must consult with such persons as they consider appropriate before making regulations. Minimum service levels aim to limit the impacts of strike action on the lives and livelihoods of the public and to strike a balance between the right of unions and their members to strike and the need for the wider public to be able to access key services during strikes.
A key priority for this Government is to ensure that our health services can continue to deliver vital services to treat and support patients at their time of need, particularly during challenging times. On Tuesday the Department of Health and Social Care launched a consultation seeking views to inform decisions on the introduction of regulations on minimum service levels in England, Scotland and Wales, to protect patient safety in key hospital-based services during strike action.
Our proposal is that most essential and time-critical hospital services should be covered by minimum service levels regulations. This consultation will help to inform decisions on whether hospital services should be covered and, if so, which services, and the appropriate minimum service levels required. The consultation will also seek views on whether any health services outside ambulance services and hospital services should be included in minimum service levels.
The consultation will run for eight weeks and will close on 14 November 2023.
Copies of the consultation will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.