The Workers Union has issued a statement championing the role of British nurses.
In a carefully worded announcement, the organisation said that nursing staff had played a ‘massive heroic’ part in the battle to defeat the spread of Coronavirus.
‘This nation owes so much to the fantastic men and women who’ve put their lives on the line to care for the sick in very difficult circumstances. It would be fair to say that they have truly helped inspire the nation – as the recent “nightingale effect’ demonstrates.
However the union warned against politicians using ‘vocational calling cliches’ to justify below inflation pay increases and excuse long-term recruitment problems:
‘There is so much goodwill towards healthcare staff that decision makers would be ill-advised to plead poverty. The pandemic has shown how important the NHS is to the fabric of our national life. Let’s not squander our collective wealth by running it into the ground.’
The ‘nightingale effect’ has seen thousands more nurses join the NHS since the start of the pandemic. Recent reports from NHS England suggest that there are more than 11,000 extra nurses in January 2021 than there was in January 2020.
Challenging Differences in Pay
The NHS chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens said: ‘Nurses, healthcare support workers and assistants have been at the forefront of the NHS’s extraordinary response to the coronavirus pandemic.
‘Their skill, professionalism and tireless work has made sure that the NHS treated all those COVID patients who could benefit and millions with other conditions.
‘Nurses’ dedication has also played a vital part in the hugely successful rollout of the NHS vaccination programme that has combined speed and precision in a way unrivalled around the world.’
The Workers Union echoed Sir Simon’s praise but said that creating differences between pay offers in England and Scotland would be seen as grossly unfair by those south of the border:
‘The recent news that NHS Scotland has approved a 4 percent pay rise is nothing short of fantastic. But it’s also a kick in the teeth for NHS workers elsewhere. So let’s get serious and export this policy to other parts of the service – it’s the least that staff deserve.’
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