'NH Exodus': Tom Swarbrick reacts to nurse who has 'junked' NHS for better quality of life

12 January 2023, 16:02 | Updated: 12 January 2023, 16:30

Tom/Mailu Durant mono

By Abbie Reynolds

After hearing from a nurse who went viral after posting a TikTok about leaving the NHS to earn $30 an hour serving ice cream in Australia, Tom Swarbrick delved into what her story shows about staff retention in the UK's health service.

The strain on the NHS has been increasing with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) having taken strike action from December 2022 for their largest-ever strike.

There has been growing pressure for the government to settle the ongoing dispute with NHS unions over pay and conditions. Many commentators have insisted the main problem is staff shortages and staff retention.

Tom Swarbrick acknowledged the "exodus" of NHS staff amid strike action and poor working conditions.

READ MORE: Nick Ferrari slams PM for refusal to recognise NHS in 'crisis' after report of inadequate maternity care

Mailu Durant is a nurse registered in the UK who recently moved out to Melbourne, Australia. She posted a video on TikTok that has been watched over 1.2 million times, where she explained how she left her nursing job after facing burnout.

"This is why nurses are striking," the young woman said in the viral video.

Ms Durant said she earnt approximately £13 an hour as a nurse before taxes but now she earns $30 (approx £17) an hour serving ice cream in the sunshine by the beach.

"We tracked Mailu down earlier today to ask her about her NH Exodus" Tom announced.

"I worked for a full year in the NHS and during that time it came very apparent that it was very understaffed, the staff that were there were very undervalued," Ms Durant told LBC.

The nurse said she was often forced to work way over her set hours and tried out doing trial shifts in other trusts to if conditions were better elsewhere. However, she said everywhere was just as understaffed.

"I felt like I was experiencing burnout after one year of qualifying and I probably felt it one month into my job."

Going on to explain her current work situation in Melbourne, rejoicing at the fact that she now gets to take a break: "I would work 16-hour shifts without taking a break [as a nurse in the NHS]."

Tom/Mailu Durant second mono

"Young 20-something recently qualified nurse the kind of person we are desperate for - who has junked it because she can be paid more selling ice cream, in the sunshine, in Melbourn Australia," came Tom's reaction to Mailu Durant's story.

Tom recognised nursing isn't known for being well paid but argued "you should at least be able to do your job without burning out in a year".

After hearing from Ms Durant Tom concluded that working in the NHS has become both "unaffordable and intolerable".

His astonishment continued: "You can earn more, and have a better life... doing something as (don't shoot me down for the word) as unskilled, comparatively unskilled as selling ice cream."

Ex-NHS Pay Review Chair says it is 'inflation not retention'

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