NHS pay rise needed to solve 'unsustainable' staffing gaps, nurse tells LBC

20 July 2021, 18:50

By Tim Dodd

An NHS pay rise could solve 'unsustainable' staffing gaps and give a 'boost of life' to nursing, this nurse tells Eddie Mair.

The conversation comes amid reports that the government is set to increase NHS staff pay by 3% in the coming days.

In March the government proposed a 1% pay rise for staff which was met with anger following the challenging year the NHS has had fighting Covid-19.

Carmel O’Boyle, nurse and Chair of the Royal College of Nursing’s Greater Liverpool & Knowsley Branch, began by telling Eddie: "My colleagues are exhausted. I don't know any other way to say it.

"It's been relentless. We see flu epidemics and we know how to deal with those things. I think we were hit with this because people reacted in so many different ways. People we didn't expect, like young people, were becoming very poorly very quickly and so we didn't know how to manage the disease.

"There's just been no let up. And this kind of talk from the government that things will calm down and freedom day - the R rate is going up. People are coming into hospital and people are really poorly."

Read more: Caller bans 'selfish' anti-vaxxer son from house over Covid infection fears

Ms O'Boyle continued: "I'm watching my colleagues get sick as well. And there's only so much you can do without being exhausted and then becoming sick yourself.

"It's just a constant cycle of getting into work, doing the best you can, and trying again the next day - it's just been relentless."

Read more: No10 says it's crucial people self-isolate if 'pinged' after minister's comments to LBC

Eddie then asked: "How often are there holes in the rota these days?"

"We are under a staffing crisis, we have been for years," replied Ms O'Boyle.

"We're doing our best to train new nurses, bringing our students through... disrupting their learning in order to help, but that's not sustainable.

"We've had people who are retired coming back into the workforce - again, not sustainable. Those people won't be around forever as working colleagues.

"So we need to do something. We need better pay in order to recruit and retain people, and attract people to the profession. We need a burst of life, and I'm not sure where it's coming from."

Read more: 'Pingdemic': One in three Brits either abusing or deleting NHS Covid app - survey

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