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COVID-19: nurse who cared for prime minister in hospital resigns over 1% pay offer

Jenny McGee says she is leaving NHS because nurses ‘are not getting the respect we deserve’

Jenny McGee – who was personally thanked by Boris Johnson for her care – says nurses ‘are not getting the respect we deserve’

A nurse who cared for prime minister Boris Johnson when he had COVID-19 has resigned, saying that the government’s 1% pay rise offer for nurses in England shows a lack of respect for the profession.

Jenny McGee was one of two nurses personally thanked by Mr Johnson following his stay in intensive care at St Thomas’ Hospital in London last year.

Ms McGee said nurses deserve more from government: ‘I don’t know how much

Jenny McGee – who was personally thanked by Boris Johnson for her care – says nurses ‘are not getting the respect we deserve’

Jenny McGee speaks out in a Channel 4 documentary. Picture: TVNZ

A nurse who cared for prime minister Boris Johnson when he had COVID-19 has resigned, saying that the government’s 1% pay rise offer for nurses in England shows a lack of respect for the profession.

Jenny McGee was one of two nurses personally thanked by Mr Johnson following his stay in intensive care at St Thomas’ Hospital in London last year.

Ms McGee said nurses deserve more from government: ‘I don’t know how much more I’ve got to give to the NHS. We’re not getting the respect, and now the pay, that we deserve. I’m just sick of it. So I’ve handed in my resignation.’

Nurse leaves after ‘toughest year of my nursing career’

Ms McGee made the comments in a Channel 4 documentary, The Year Britain Stopped, which will be broadcast on 24 May.

In a statement made via Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Ms McGee, originally from New Zealand, said she plans to work in the Caribbean.

‘After the toughest year of my nursing career, I’m taking a step back from the NHS but hope to return in the future,’ she said.

‘Proposed 1% pay rise is an insult,’ says RCN

RCN acting general secretary Pat Cullen said many nurses would share Ms McGee’s feelings.

‘Nursing staff are exhausted and burnt out after a punishing year of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic,’ she said.

‘The 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.’

Ms Cullen added that the RCN, which is campaigning for a 12.5% pay rise, continues to warn about an exodus of nurses if the government fails to award them a fair pay rise.

Government defends its pay offer

Responding to Ms McGee’s comments, a spokesperson said the government was showing its appreciation for NHS staff on Agenda for Change contracts through its suggested 1% pay rise for the 2021-22 pay round.

The spokesperson added: ‘That is why NHS staff have been exempted from the wider public sector pay freeze which was implemented because of the difficult economic situation created by the pandemic.’


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