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No magic money tree to fund NHS, Theresa May tells nurse

A who nurse challenged Prime Minister Theresa May over the 1% pay cap was told more money would be put into the NHS but there was no magic money tree to fund it
may

A who nurse challenged Prime Minister Theresa May over the 1% pay cap was told more money would be put into the NHS but there was no magic money tree to fund it

A nurse challenged Prime Minister Theresa May over the 1% pay cap for staff pay rises in the NHS when she appeared in a TV debate on Friday.

Victoria Davey confronted the prime minister during a live television appearance on the BBC's Question Time ahead of the general election on Thursday.

She asked: As a nurse for 26 years, do the Tories expect our support in light of another 1% pay increase?

Responding, Ms May said: What we are looking at in terms of the National Health Service and ensuring we can provide a National Health Service in

A who nurse challenged Prime Minister Theresa May over the 1% pay cap was told more money would be put into the NHS but there was no magic money tree to fund it

may
Prime Minister Theresa May was questioned about NHS pay. Picture: BBC

A nurse challenged Prime Minister Theresa May over the 1% pay cap for staff pay rises in the NHS when she appeared in a TV debate on Friday.

Victoria Davey confronted the prime minister during a live television appearance on the BBC's Question Time ahead of the general election on Thursday.

She asked: ‘As a nurse for 26 years, do the Tories expect our support in light of another 1% pay increase?’

Responding, Ms May said: ‘What we are looking at in terms of the National Health Service and ensuring we can provide a National Health Service in the future (is) spending half-a-trillion pounds in the five years til 2020.

Demands increasing

‘We are putting more money in at the moment and will continue to put more money into the future.

‘It’s important we recognise – as you will know as a nurse – the demands on the NHS are increasing all the time.

‘We recognise the work that NHS staff do.’

Host David Dimbleby said: ‘But nurses get paid less and less?’

Hard choices

To audience cries of 'no', Ms May insisted: ‘Nurses get an increase and obviously some other payments as well.’

A fellow nurse in the audience responded angrily: ‘We’ve had a real terms decrease of 14% since 2010 so don’t tell us we’re getting an increase.’

Ms Davey agreed, and added: ‘My wage slips from 2009 reflect what I’m earning today so how can that be fair, in light of the job that we actually do?’

Ms May said: ‘I recognise the job that you do, but we’ve had to take some hard choices across the public sector in relation to pay restraint.

davey
Nurse Victoria Davey challenged the prime minister over the pay cap.
 Picture: BBC

‘I’m being honest with you in terms of saying that we will put more money into the NHS, but there isn’t a magic money tree that you can shake that suddenly provides for everything that people want.’

Ms May insisted she wanted areas like mental health to receive parity of esteem with physical health services, and said her party’s manifesto set out the plans in detail.

Returning to the subject of nurses, Mr Dimbleby asked: ‘Do you think it’s fair that nurses get just a 1% increase year in, year out, regardless of inflation, so they get poorer?

‘We are told some of them are going to food banks, do you think that’s fair? Do you sleep happy at that?’

Managing money

When Ms May failed to say if she did or she didn’t, he added: ‘Are nurses not a special case, compared with other people in the public sector?’

Ms May replied: ‘People in the public sector are working very hard on jobs we want them to do, it’s about looking after us, about protecting us, about caring for us.

‘But we have to look at public-sector spending, we have to make sure we are managing our money carefully, because at the end of the day, as I say, there isn’t a magic money tree.’


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