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‘Try harder’ to increase nurses’ pay, patient tells Rishi Sunak

Catherine Poole’s candid lecture was captured by Sky News after PM asked if she was being treated well by the nurses at Croydon University Hospital

Catherine Poole’s candid lecture was captured by Sky News after PM asked if she was being treated well by the nurses at Croydon University Hospital

A patient recovering from surgery confronted prime minister Rishi Sunak to demand a pay rise for nurses as he toured a hospital site last week.

The new prime minister was visiting Croydon University Hospital on 28 October when patient Catherine Poole informed Mr Sunak that he should ‘try harder’ to increase nurses’ salaries.

‘No, you are not trying, you need to try harder,’ patient tells PM as he toured hospital

Ms Poole’s candid lecture was captured by Sky News after

Catherine Poole’s candid lecture was captured by Sky News after PM asked if she was being treated well by the nurses at Croydon University Hospital

Recovering patient Catherine Poole confronted PM Rishi Sunak as he toured Croydon University Hospital
Recovering patient Catherine Poole confronted PM Rishi Sunak as he toured Croydon University Hospital. Picture: Twitter

A patient recovering from surgery confronted prime minister Rishi Sunak to demand a pay rise for nurses as he toured a hospital site last week.

The new prime minister was visiting Croydon University Hospital on 28 October when patient Catherine Poole informed Mr Sunak that he should ‘try harder’ to increase nurses’ salaries.

‘No, you are not trying, you need to try harder,’ patient tells PM as he toured hospital

Ms Poole’s candid lecture was captured by Sky News after Mr Sunak asked the south Londoner whether she was being treated well by the nurses at the hospital.

‘They always do, it’s a pity you don’t pay them more,’ Ms Poole replied.

Mr Sunak, who last week became the third Tory prime minister since July, said his government was ‘trying’.

‘No, you are not trying, you need to try harder,’ she retorted.

Polls reveal widespread support for nurses considering strike action

Mr Sunak went on to say that he ‘would take that away’ and agreed that the NHS was important.

‘Well you should look after it, they do very good work,’ Ms Poole added.

Hundreds of thousands of nurses across the country are currently voting over strike action, as both the RCN and Unison ballot their members over pay. The RCN ballot closes on 2 November with the results expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

It comes as new polling by YouGov shows nearly half of Britons (46%) have avoided using NHS services in the past 12 months, citing long waits (50%) and the level of pressure on the NHS (42%) amid concerns about lengthy waits for care.

Earlier this month the waiting list for routine hospital treatment in England topped seven million for the first time.

Separate polls have revealed widespread support for nurses considering strike action, with two thirds of the public (64%) saying the would support a strike by nurses.

In the same poll, three quarters (75%) of respondents said there are too few nurses to provide safe care in the NHS.

Mr Sunak dodged a question about nurses’ pay, when pushed by broadcasters following the exchange. Asked if he was happy that nurses are not getting a real-term increase in pay, he said: ‘One of the priorities for my government is going to be tackling the COVID-19 backlogs and supporting the NHS.’


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