Anger over pay and staffing is not surprising, but it is preventable

Nine out of ten nurses tell our survey the don’t feel valued by politicians in power – and why would they?

Picture: Daniel Mitchell

‘Insulting’, ‘shameful’, ‘devaluing’ and ‘demoralising’ – nurses haven’t held back in venting their anger at the government’s 1% pay offer in their responses to our survey with the Sunday Mirror.

And neither should they. The proposed increase for nursing staff in England comes after a year like no other, as nurses put their lives at risk working to save those of their patients.

Is a photo opportunity worth more to this government?

But this isn’t about sympathy pay. As our respondents say, nurses simply want the highly skilled, professional job that they do to be recognised and valued.

Sadly, our poll’s finding that nine out of ten nurses don’t feel valued by politicians in power comes as little surprise. In fact, it’s probably only the government that can’t – or won’t – believe it.

Boris Johnson couldn’t even acknowledge Jenny McGee, the nurse who cared for him when he had COVID-19, when questioned earlier this month in parliament about her resignation over the government’s lack of respect for her profession. It was a different story when he was seeking a photo opportunity with Ms McGee following his time in intensive care.

One of the most striking comments in our survey comes from a nurse working on a small ward where they’ve lost ten nurses with 100 years of experience between them. This has left the remaining nursing staff ‘stressed and exhausted trying to train up new staff and cover shifts. I and most of my colleagues are looking to find new careers,’ the respondent says.

Pressures are clearly taking their toll

Figures from the Nursing and Midwifery Council show 2,630 more nurses left the register last year (23,936) than in 2019-20 (21,306).

Yes, there are more nurses and midwives than ever on the register, but the regulator says current pressures on front-line staff have clearly had a significant impact on numbers leaving. And as for the promise of 50,000 more nurses by the end of this parliament, who will train them if we lose our experienced nurses?

If the government continues to ignore exhausted and demoralised nurses, even more will leave. That is shameful.

Our survey results: Reaction to pay offer ‘insult’ after year of COVID sacrifices

Further information

Sunday Mirror: Nearly half of nurses looking to quit NHS