'Hang your head in shame': Callers' bitter clash over NHS pay row

6 March 2021, 13:45 | Updated: 6 March 2021, 13:49

By Seán Hickey

These two callers were locked in an intense debate after one claimed 'emotional incontinence' was at the heart of the NHS pay dispute.

Caller Nick told Matt Frei that with the public outrage around NHS pay, "you'd think this was some Florence Nightingale volunteer service," for the anger people are expressing at the situation.

He told Matt that people working within the NHS weren't forced into working there and suggested if they're not happy with pay, they should work elsewhere.

"Frankly, the high death rate in this country is in great measure in my view, down to the NHS," the caller claimed, clarifying that "systemic" issues in the management of the health service are at fault rather than individual workers.

He argued that "not many of your callers would want to pay properly the way our continental cousins do through social insurance," and thus the outrage is coming from a place of hypocrisy.

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Matt brought in caller Ranjit who had a vastly differing view. He claimed that Nick had "no compassion for other people."

The caller suggested that in order to allow substantial pay increases for NHS staff, "politicians will have the same rate of pay increase as any other public worker."

He attacked Nick, asking what he had done "to help in this pandemic" while NHS workers "gave their lives" during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"You should, mate, really hang your head in shame," Ranjit told Nick.

"This is exactly the emotional incontinence that is the problem," Nick replied, claiming that "the numbers simply do not stack up" to justify a pay increase.

He reiterated that the public "want someone else to pay" for the rise rather than dip into their own pockets.

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