After the pandemic comes the hard part. It looks as if the NHS has ridden out the first wave of COVID-19. But the cost has been brutal: the deaths, the disruption to health services; the mental health of HCPs who have worked through the crisis; the long-term health conditions which some of those who have recovered from COVID will now require care for. Then of course, there is the damage to the economy.
At first glance, this has little to do with the nation’s health, but it is of huge import: poorer countries have poorer health outcomes; unemployment ravages mental and physical health; and a cut in tax revenues impedes properly funding the NHS. The scale of the problem calls for a response, but the Government has responded with a weak gruel of stamp duty cuts and meal deals. A Group-On solution for a Marshall Plan-sized problem.
So here is a modest proposal from the back of an envelope at IN: a £2000 one-off bonus for every NHS worker. It would be politically popular, boost morale, and be relatively simple to administer. Also, given that it would go largely to low-paid workers, the money would be spent and help jump start the economy. Cost? By my rough calculations, just over £3 billion. A one off increase of about 2.5% to the NHS budget, and at least £500 million less than the Chancellor is ready to spend on Stamp Duty cuts. Any thoughts?
While we can’t implement this ourselves, we have set up a new one-stop shop to help with resilience and resources through COVID and beyond: #SupportingNurses is live now, and we would love your thoughts on it. Even if the thursday night applause has faded away, your needs haven’t.