Nurses deliver 'magic money tree' to Department of Health
A group of nurses have delivered a six foot tree with fake £50 notes to health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Nurses have delivered a 'magic money tree' to the Department of Health as they fight for an above inflation pay rise for the first time in seven years
The stunt in Whitehall, London, was organised by nurse Danielle Tiplady, who was also behind a petition signed by more than 100,000 people calling for an end to the public sector pay cap in January.
Nurses carried a six foot Christmas tree, with fake £50 notes hanging from the branches, to the government building and waved placards.
They also carried a birthday cake to celebrate the 69th anniversary of the NHS today.
The event was not an official RCN protest, but it follows a demonstration outside the same building last Tuesday when the college launched its 'summer of protest' over pay.
Nurses chanted at the demo ‘nurses don't grow on trees, have a heart, stop the freeze’ and ‘Theresa found her money tree, not for nurses, the DUP’.
Helen Stanford, a community nurse in south London, said she thought constantly about leaving the profession.
Cost of living
'Long term, I can't see myself being a nurse if things continue this way. Nobody goes into nursing for the money, but we should earn a fair wage and be able to cover the cost of living,’ she said.
'We come home so tired and to know the government doesn't care about us and is totally ignoring us at every point.'
Ms Stanford added: 'Morale is terrible. Our workload has increased but pay has decreased with the cost of living going up.
Emily Meins, a nurse working in central London, said she was ‘incandescent’ when she heard Mrs May's comment about the magic money tree.
'It was the most patronising and demeaning comment. It made me so angry,’ she said.
'Then in light of the DUP negotiations, it just made my blood boil.'
Ms Tiplady said the idea came from prime minister's Theresa May's response to a nurse during the general election, 'when she told my colleague that there wasn't a magic money tree, as if she was a child', yet there being enough money for a deal with the DUP 'to prop themselves up in government'.
'Nurses are critical. The statistics from Monday showing people leaving the register are shocking, and pay is a huge factor in that.
'We are just asking for a fair deal.'
Earlier, Mrs May today told the House of Commons during Prime Minister's Questions that the public sector pay cap would remain in place.
More nurse protests are planned by the RCN and generally by Unison.
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