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If we won’t help our nurses, who will?

John Orchard, chief executive at Cavell Nurses' Trust, asks who is there to help nurses seeking support?

At Cavell Nurses’ Trust we’ve seen the number of nursing professionals seeking help double in the last three years. For a small charity like ours (just 10 members of staff) it can be a challenge but one we know we must rise to because of the huge part that nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants play, and will play, in all our lives.

Cavell Nurses’ Trust supports UK nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants, both working and retired, when they’re suffering personal or financial hardship often due to illness, disability, older age and domestic abuse.

Recently we spoke to 1,149 nursing professionals to find out how prepared they are a personal financial crisis and what the impact might be for them if one happened. From the people we help every day, we know that a financial crisis can be life-changing, but we were saddened by the scale of the impact.

More than three quarters (77%) of nursing professionals are unprepared for a sudden financial crisis like a period of ill health, a bereavement of a loved one or having to leave an abusive relationship. Coupled with this, 50% of the survey respondents said they had £500 or less to survive on in a financial emergency.

There’s been much talk of nurses’ pay recently and whereas salary rates are important, we know that it’s only one of the reasons that nursing professionals call us for help. And sadly, 88% of nurses, midwives and HCAs are unlikely to talk to their employers about their situation if they are facing a financial crisis. So who picks up the pieces?

The team and I at Cavell Nurses’ Trust have created a solution to get more help for these people. Our ‘Working with’ membership programme is for organisations which employ nurses, or rely on nursing professionals, to help us build a safety net and support our nation’s nursing professionals if they are facing a crisis. We’re so proud that in its first year the ‘Working with’ membership stands at 16, but we need more!

I want to take this opportunity to urge as many nurse employers and other organisations as possible to take this opportunity to support our nation’s nurses and show how much they are valued.

Read the report Getting To Work: Financial Crisis and our Nation’s Nursing Professionals and be inspired to get involved. This can be found at: