NHS salaries provide 'a really poor way of life,' nurse tells James O'Brien

5 March 2021, 12:31

By Fiona Jones

This nurse tells James O'Brien that NHS workers have a "really poor way of life" due to the amount they earn, revealing she moved into private healthcare for that very reason.

It comes amid outrage over the Government's suggestion to give a 1% pay rise to NHS workers, which has been branded as 'callous and disgusting.'

When challenged on the quantity of the pay rise health minister Nadine Dorries defending the figure, telling LBC "it's what we can afford."

Nurse Caterina told James that NHS staff feel "undervalued" due to low staffing levels, exhaustion and lack of PPE and "it doesn't seem to be getting any better."

While she acknowledged a pay rise would not fix these issues, "it would go some way to showing that they're appreciated for the work that they do and how awful it's been over the pandemic...it's a hard enough job."

Caterina said the 1% proposed pay rise is a "slap in the face" to which James agreed: "On the one hand they're acknowledging that there is a need to recognise what staff have been through this year, and on the other hand they're like, okay here's 1%.

She told James she moved out of the NHS into the private sector because "you've got a really poor way of life if you earn that money only."

"I would never have been able to afford the mortgage that I can afford now," Caterina said, "I felt like my family deserved that."

James surmised that the Government's proposal "certainly won't make anyone feel more valued or loved."

Separately Unite national officer for health, Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, called for industrial action: "Following yesterday's kick-in-the-teeth announcement that the Government wants to peg NHS pay at 1% for 2021-22, Unite will be considering all its options, including the holding of an industrial action ballot, as our pay campaign mounts in the coming weeks.

"We will be fully consulting our members on the next steps, given that inflation could be 2% by the end of 2021, so what Prime Minister Boris Johnson is recommending is another pay cut in real terms.

"It shows an unyielding contempt by ministers for those who have done so much to care for tens of thousands of Covid-19 patients in the last year.

"The public is rightly outraged by a Government that can spend £37 billion on the flawed private sector Test and Trace programme, but can't find the cash for a decent pay rise for those on the NHS front line."

The proposal was also angrily condemned by Royal College of Nursing general secretary, Dame Donna Kinnair who said it would amount to an increase of just £3.50 a week in take home pay for an experienced nurse.