Question Time: Nurse says ‘NHS is bleeding’ as Covid cases rise
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During his presentation of the fall budget, Rishi Sunak did not make any mention to the NHS staff, who have worked on the frontlines throughout the pandemic. The Chancellor is understood to be waiting for the NHS Pay Review Body’s conclusions in May before making a decision on a possible salary increase.
Nurses, junior doctors, paramedics, hospital porters and healthcare staff could be left without a decision for nearly seven months.
In a submission to the independent panel, the Department of Health and Social Care has recommended NHS staff, including nurses, receive a one percent pay rise next year.
Back in July, the then health secretary, Matt Hancock, aroused further disquiet by maintaining that one percent represented “what is affordable.”
Jenny McGee, one of the nurses who looked after Johnson when he was hospitalised with Covid soon after the pandemic struck in March last year, resigned in May.
She cited the 1% offer as a key factor.
“We’re not getting the respect, and now pay, that we deserve,” McGee told Channel 4.
“I’m just sick of it. So I’ve handed in my resignation.”
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) chief executive Dame Donna Kinnair called the proposed increase “pitiful”, and is calling for a 12.5 percent increase.
She told BBC News: “Nursing staff would feel they are being punished and made to pay for the cost of the pandemic. It is a political decision to underfund and undervalue nursing staff.”
The RCN has initiated a petition that has reportedly received 160,000 signatures as of 4 November.
The document asking for “fair pay” for nursing will be delivered to Downing Street on Thursday.
The organisation argues that, with inflation forecast to be around 4 percent, nursing staff are worse off in real terms.
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Ancillary staff across Royal London Hospital, Whipps Cross and St Barts will be balloted on possible strike action next week.
This follows a challenging period for the NHS while the organisation has to deal with the pandemic, the vaccination program and a Brexit-induced lack of foreign employers.
There are tens of thousands of vacant nursing posts in the NHS and independent health and social care sectors and more are considering leaving over the pay deal, the RCN said.
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