We went into this pandemic unprepared, having ignored advice that we should stock up with PPE at a time when most people didn’t know what that meant, and when we could have got it at an affordable cost.
Hospitals already struggled with thousands of unfilled staff vacancies and too few intensive care beds. Community healthcare was underfunded and disjointed.
We put nurses, doctors and other health care workers at risk of their own lives day and night and a number have died. I include the lower-paid porters, cleaners and other ancillary staff here.
No wonder morale now is even lower and the thousands of vacancies only likely to increase – as rather than being valued and respected they are supposed to be grateful for a paltry pay rise?
The way they are treated is heartbreaking. Why can’t the government see that exhaustion and low morale, present before this pandemic, are avoidable?
The NHS is beyond price and it is made up of the people working within it. Please wake up, politicians. It’s not just the money, though that would definitely help.
Yvette Kahane (Retired nursing sister)
I fail to understand why the government has difficulty in awarding NHS workers a proper pay rise? Have they forgotten about the £350m stash which was to come into the coffers post-Brexit? Surely they haven`t forgotten about that, since it was clearly earmarked for the NHS.
Rev Peter Sharp
The recent announcement of a 1 per cent pay rise for NHS staff has rightly appalled most of the nation. Yet a bonus of say £500 would seem equally derisory in this day and age.
Our affluent chancellor appears keen to announce novel and innovative policies, so how about we remove all frontline NHS workers from paying tax for the year 2021/22?
The rest of us can keep picking up the tab, while our frontline workers receive a well-earned break – at least financially.
The proposed 1 per cent pay increase for NHS staff is appropriate for four reasons:
1. Medical staff are already reasonably remunerated compared with many others.
2. They have all been paid overtime for their long hours (as a professional engineer I would welcome overtime for my 60+ hour weeks).
3. They have stable employment in comparison to the unfortunate many who have lost or will lose their jobs because of the pandemic.
4. A larger pay rise would put them out of step with others, including other key workers.
But, I do believe that they and other key workers should receive a substantial bonus to recognise their heroic contributions. The bonus should not be a percentage of pay but a set lump sum paid to all from the cleaners to the most senior consultant.
It should also be paid to the employees of contractors (again, the cleaners and catering staff etc) who work on the frontline in hospitals and laboratories, and to the police and so on.
The government and we, the public, should also put pressure on the private sector to pay a similar bonus to bus drivers, ticket collectors, supermarket workers etc.
Such a bonus is morally right, and it would also help to boost the economy through consumer spending.
I am extremely concerned about the morale within the nursing profession and indeed in the whole of the NHS with everything they are still having to deal with as a result of Covid-19.
I am as a result suggesting a campaign for NHS staff and concerned members of the public to all put £3.50 in an envelope (the additional amount nurses are estimated to receive each week from the 1 per cent pay rise).
This should then be posted direct to 10 Downing Street to help them pay for the improvements to the private flat to demonstrate that we all understand the priorities of the current government.
A new union
Mark Drakeford says we need to create, post-Covid, a “new union”. My vision is for one that includes our closest neighbour and friend, Ireland!
The British Isles is a geographical entity. Great Britain and Ireland are our two main islands. A new union? A new name? At the heart of this new union – a Council of the British Isles.
All of its countries would govern themselves and be signed-up to contributing to the wellbeing of each other.
David G Palmer