Those people who argue that Canadians are the nicest people in the world will add some grist to their mill with a little news story you may have missed this week. In the state of Quebec, 500 doctors, plus a further 150 medical students, have written to the government to protest their own pay rises. They argue instead that the money the should be given to nurses and lower paid health workers.
‘We, Quebec doctors, are asking that the salary increases granted to physicians be cancelled and that the resources of the system be better distributed for the good of the health care workers and to provide health services worthy to the people of Quebec,’ they concluded. Any practice nurses whose GP has just turned up in a new Audi should probably print out a copy of the story and pin it to the windscreen.
It struck a chord because of the results of the latest NHS Staff Survey, which we cover on page 6, paints a dismal pictiure of staff morale. Less than a third of nurses believe they are paid properly. Would a Quebec-style act of sacrifice help here? Well it wouldn’t hurt… but issues around unfilled vacancies, insufficient training places and even discrepancies of funding for CPD between doctors and nurses hint at a deeper problem; a lack of respect for nurses and the work they do from government.
While the thawing of the 7-year pay freeze was a welcome first step, changing the mindset is a tougher ask, but a more important one.
A properly rewarded and motivated nursing workforce
is key to securing the future of the NHS.