NHS healthcare assistants on Teesside will walk out in huge numbers next month in a dispute over pay.

About 1,000 staff across seven sites at the North Tees and Hartlepool, and South Tees NHS trusts will walk out for 24 hours on March 11 after 96% backed strike action.

They campaigning to be paid on a higher wage band which they say more accurately reflects the work they do.

Penny, a healthcare assistant at University Hospital Hartlepool, said: “It’s time for the trusts in Teesside to play fair and pay fair.

“For years, healthcare assistants have been doing extra tasks to support patients. All we’re asking is to be paid fairly for the work we’ve done.

“The current offer is simply not good enough.”

Union Unison says the trusts accept the workers should be on a higher rate but say the offer on the table must be improved particularly on back-paying staff.

It’s understood backpay has been offered to July 2021, but according to reports Unison previously called for backpay dating to July 2019.

According to NHS guidance, healthcare assistants on salary band 2 should only be providing personal care, such as bathing and feeding patients. But Unison says most healthcare assistants have routinely undertaken clinical tasks that would normally be done by those on band 3, such as taking blood, performing electrocardiogram tests and inserting cannulas.

UNISON Northern regional secretary Clare Williams said: “Healthcare assistants provide outstanding care to people across Teesside and deserve to be fairly paid for the work they’ve done.

Recommended reading:

Get more from The Northern Echo with a digital subscription. Get access for 2 months for just £2 with our latest offer. Click here.

“Other hospitals around the country have avoided strike action by resolving pay issues through negotiation. It’s time these trusts followed suit.”

A spokesperson for both trusts told the BBC they had committed to back-pay dating to July 2021, adding “We recognise and appreciate the huge contribution healthcare assistants make to our patients.”

The strike will begin at 7am on March 11 and will affect University Hospital of North Tees, University Hospital of Hartlepool, James Cook University Hospital, Northallerton Friarage Hospital, Redcar Primary Care Hospital, East Cleveland Primary Care Hospital and The Richmond Friary Community Hospital.