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COVID bonus call for agency nurses: more than 41,000 sign petition

All health and social care staff deserve government recognition, says campaigner
Agency nurse Covid bonus campaign image shows two nurses’ faces with words calling for equal treatment

All health and social care staff deserve government recognition, says campaigner

More than 41,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Scottish government to include agency nurses and carers in its COVID-19 bonus scheme.

The 500 one-off payment, announced in November 2020, is restricted to NHS and social care employees.

Agency nurses feel they are not valued by the government

But the petition, set up by Glasgow nursing agency H1 Healthcare, is calling for the bonus to be extended to agency staff too.

Chief operating officer Sakib Rafiq said he decided to campaign after an agency nurse he knew died from COVID-19.

His death affected me, Mr Rafiq said. This is

All health and social care staff deserve government recognition, says campaigner

More than 41,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Scottish government to include agency nurses and carers in its COVID-19 bonus scheme.

The £500 one-off payment, announced in November 2020, is restricted to NHS and social care employees.

‘Agency nurses feel they are not valued by the government’

But the petition, set up by Glasgow nursing agency H1 Healthcare, is calling for the bonus to be extended to agency staff too.

Chief operating officer Sakib Rafiq said he decided to campaign after an agency nurse he knew died from COVID-19.

‘His death affected me,’ Mr Rafiq said. ‘This is about recognising we all work in partnership. Agency nurses feel as though they aren’t being valued by the government at all.’

RCN Scotland associate director for employment relations Norman Provan said: ‘Nursing staff working across health and care services have shouldered so much of the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic and this should be recognised, wherever they are employed.’

Agency nurses have been under stress on the front line

Agency nurses spoke to Nursing Standard about their disappointment at not being part of the government’s gesture.

Krzysztofa Bengsch said: ‘People seem to think agency nurses can do everything but we are humans with feelings and fears, putting ourselves and our families at risk during the pandemic.

Happiness Mbatha

‘We are all tired mentally and we need to be recognised by the government for what we are doing.’

Happiness Mbatha said: ‘Agency nurses have been used more than ever before during the pandemic and I have never worked as hard as this in my life.

‘We are on the front line too and need support from the government.’

‘Private employers must determine remuneration for staff’

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: ‘We are hugely grateful to the efforts of key workers in different sectors.

‘For people working for private employers, it would be for their employer to determine their remuneration and any additions to existing pay.’


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