There has been an outpouring of gratitude for the work of NHS Staff and others helping on the frontline of the Coronavirus pandemic. It’s taken hold so much that every Thursday at 8pm people are dutifully going out of their front doors and “Clapping For Our Carers”. Whilst this is a nice gesture, it is being used by the government to divert away from the real issues these people face; a chronic lack of adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and the poor pay conditions of public sector staff like nurses.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s not nice to show some appreciation for those putting themselves at risk to help us fight COVID-19. It’s just that most people seem more concerned about the number of people clapping, than they are about doctors and nurses dying because their PPE wasn’t good enough.
This may seem like a harsh statement, but unfortunately it’s true.
Last Sunday Andrew Marr asked the Health Secretary Matt Hancock about a nurses starting salary of approximately £25,000 in England and Wales.
“Do you think as a result of this experience they deserve to be paid more in the future?”
Mr Hancock responded with what appears to be a well rehearsed spiel:
“Well, look, everybody wants to support our nurses right now and I’m sure that there will be a time to debate things like that.
“At the moment the thing that we’re working on is how to get through this.
“And so you know I’m very sympathetic to that argument, but now is not the moment to enter into a pay negotiation. Now is the moment for everybody to be doing their very best.”
Hancock, as many politicians do when pressed on a common sense issue, using the cringe worthy line: “Now is not the time.”
The problem is, when the Coronavirus pandemic is over they use the line: “we can’t afford it”. This is what happened in 2010 when David Cameron’s Government froze public sector worker’s pay for years.
However, as we have seen in the past few years, the money has always been there, it’s just the Government didn’t want to give it out.
So while you clap for our carers, make sure you also call for pay rises for our brave healthcare staff.
Two months ago people where rejoicing these so-called “unskilled workers” wouldn’t be allowed into the UK post Brexit, now we need them more than ever. What a turn around of events….