Jenny McGee, a nurse who cared for Prime Minister Boris Johnson when he was in intensive care has quit the NHS, criticising the government's handling of the pandemic and nurses' pay.
Ms Mcgee said she was ‘taking a step back’ from the NHS after her ‘toughest year’ in the job, but hoped to return, speaking to a Channel 4 documentary. She also told the programme, The Year Britain Stopped, that ‘a lot of nurses’ felt the government ‘hadn't led very effectively’ and that there had been ‘indecisiveness’ and ‘so many mixed messages’.
‘Nursing staff are exhausted and burnt out after a punishing year of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic,’ said Pat Cullen, Acting General Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing.
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‘To hear the government’s proposed 1% pay rise is an insult and shows how little the government listens to and respects nursing staff who have been putting their lives on the line.’
As of 2021, NHS salaries have fallen by up to 32%, according to analysis by the RCN. The study found that, when adjusted for inflation, salaries in all NHS pay grades have fallen in real terms. In one pay grade, this meant a pay cut of 32%. While nursing staff have seen their salary increase in cash terms, in reality this buys them far less than it did 10 years ago, the analysis concludes. The RCN and other Unions are now calling for a pay rise.
‘There are already tens of thousands of nursing vacancies and we continue to warn of an exodus from the profession if the government does not demonstrate its respect by giving nurses a fair pay rise for the skilled work they do,’ added Ms Cullen.
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