'One Nurse Isn't Eating On Shift So She Can Afford School Uniforms … – Grazia

‘Many NHS leaders talk about the psychological “double-whammy” of working through the pandemic – where many healthcare workers went through a very difficult, and sometimes traumatic, time – and coming out of that only to go right into this cost-of-living crisis where financial insecurity is causing huge amounts of stress.’
Miriam Deakin is director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers. We’ve sat down to talk about the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on NHS staff, following the publication of devastating research in October that showed nurses were having to skip meals at work in order to feed and clothe their children. Now, Royal College of Nursing members are taking strike action for the first time in its 106-year history, with the first day of walk outs taking place today.
In a survey of chief executives, chairs and other senior figures in health trusts undertaken by NHS Providers (which represents trusts), researchers found that staff are forced to use food banks, cannot afford their travel into work and are increasingly suffering from mental health issues due to the stress of paying their bills.
‘The research shows the real immediacy of the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on the NHS and particularly on staff,’ Deakin told Grazia. ‘The stories were really heart-rending. One nurse isn’t eating on shift so she can afford to buy her children school uniforms. A lot of people reported being worried about covering the cost of their commute, or for mobile workers like community midwives, they’re worried about the cost of fuel and mileage rates.’
It's causing a mass exodus of staff, with 68% of trusts reporting that staff are leaving for better terms and conditions elsewhere – causing a ‘significant or severe impact’ on pre-existing recruitment and retention problems.
According to the Royal College of Nursing, salaries of nursing professionals have consistently fallen below inflation. Pay largely depends on what NHS band you are in and how much experience you have, but nurses.co.uk dictates that the pay scale for nurses starts at £20,270 and incrementally rises across the nine bands.  They estimate that the average annual salary of an NHS nurse is £35,000.
One can hardly blame nurses for leaving the NHS then, risking their mental health while struggling to afford essentials, all for a career born from a love for caring for others. We expect NHS staff to look after us in desperate, vulnerable times, all while putting their own physical and mental health at risk for little financial reward, as our taxes are spent elsewhere. The situation is so dire that trusts themselves are coming to their staff’s aide.
‘It was clear how worried trusts are by how much they’re having to lean in as an employer to support their staff,’ Deakin says. ‘Many are now having to increase the number of hospitals with food banks on site for staff. One Trust was washing uniforms for staff, so they didn’t have to use their washing machines at home, and several are offering hardship grants.’
Other trusts are offering subsidised hot meals at work for staff and patients, enabling those in hospitals to buy one- or two-pound meals. Where they’re doing all, they can then, Deakin says government action is needed.
Unions are now balloting to take industrial action on a scale we've never seen before.
‘Pay, terms and conditions are fundamental,' she explains. 'This year all NHS staff saw a below inflation pay award that followed a number of years of pay restraint, so people are experiencing a real-terms cut in their pay and seeing their living standards drop all while the demand for services is rising.'
There are other things the government could do. ‘We would encourage government to look at the causes of poverty and its health consequences,’ Deakin continues. ‘The other important factor is that vacancy rates are really high at the moment.  In the NHS, we have over 132,000 vacancies in the trust sector which puts more pressure on those who are working, so more help from government to plan for the NHS workforce of the future is important.’
Essentially, in order to keep the NHS going and maintain its reputation as a world-class healthcare system, the government must make it a desirable place to work. That means somewhere staff aren’t forced to use foodbanks, can eat a hot meal at work without worrying about their child going without and not have to call in sick for shifts because they can’t afford their commute.
We need urgent action now, this doesn’t just affect NHS staff, it affects all of us who rely on it for healthcare.
© 1962-2023 Bauer Media Group
Bauer Media Group consists of: Bauer Consumer Media Ltd, Company number: 01176085, Bauer Radio Ltd, Company Number: 1394141
Registered Office: Media House, Peterborough Business Park, Lynch Wood, Peterborough, PE2 6EA H Bauer Publishing,Company Number: LP003328
Registered Office: Academic House, 24-28 Oval Road, London, NW1 7DT. All registered in England and Wales. VAT no 918 5617 01
H Bauer Publishing are authorised and regulated for credit broking by the FCA (Ref No. 845898)


Related Posts

Leave a Reply

© 2024 Health Jobs in the UK - Theme by WPEnjoy · Powered by WordPress