Comment

Yvonne Coghill: The way nurses are being treated is a national tragedy

A footballer earns £537,000 a week while nurses go to food banks and do extra shifts just to make ends meet. What kind of world do we live in, asks Yvonne Coghill.
pay

A footballer earns 537,000 a week while nurses go to food banks and do extra shifts just to make ends meet. What kind of world do we live in, asks Yvonne Coghill

Nurses are an invaluable resource in society. We look after the sick and care for the dying, often with very little thanks.

Nurses, midwives and other public-sector workers have had their pay capped at 1% for the last seven years, resulting in a real-terms pay cut of 14% since 2010.

This is against a backdrop of 40,000 registered nurse vacancies in England alone, with figures from the RCN showing the number of experienced nurses leaving the profession has doubled in the past three years.

Caring

Then there is the 96% drop

...

A footballer earns £537,000 a week while nurses go to food banks and do extra shifts just to make ends meet. What kind of world do we live in, asks Yvonne Coghill

pay
Some nurses are turning to food banks and working extra shifts
to make ends meet. Picture: iStock

Nurses are an invaluable resource in society. We look after the sick and care for the dying, often with very little thanks. 

Nurses, midwives and other public-sector workers have had their pay capped at 1% for the last seven years, resulting in a real-terms pay cut of 14% since 2010. 

This is against a backdrop of 40,000 registered nurse vacancies in England alone, with figures from the RCN showing the number of experienced nurses leaving the profession has doubled in the past three years.

Caring

Then there is the 96% drop in UK applications from nurses from the European Union following last year’s Brexit vote, and the scrapping of the student bursary. 

People become nurses to care for people, they do not expect to become millionaires. But what sort of world do we live in when a footballer can transfer from one club to another for a record-breaking fee of nearly £200 million and receive a weekly wage of £537,000 after tax – while nurses are turning to food banks and working extra shifts on their days off just to make ends meet.

When hard-working nurses are coping with huge workloads, with many not feeling valued or respected, something has gone terribly wrong.

This is a national tragedy. Someone, somewhere needs to do something.


Yvonne Coghill is director of the Workforce Race Equality Standard implementation programme at NHS England 
@yvonnecoghill1
@WRES_team 

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