GMB: Kate Garraway discusses NHS pay rise
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On Wednesday, Health Secretary Sajid David accepted the independent NHS pay review body’s recommended three percent pay rise for the NHS. But The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has said they will consider industrial action because the pay rise is not big enough. The Chief Executive of RCN, Pat Cullen, joined Kate Garraway and Richard Madeley on Good Morning Britain on Thursday to speak about this and how they are still calling for a 12 percent pay rise. Kate, whose husband Derek Draper received over a years worth of treatment from the NHS for coronavirus, and is still receiving care at home, said she was “desperate” for nurses to be rewarded but understood the economic strain the country was currently under.
“Nobody could be more desperate for nurses to be rewarded than me,” Kate began. “Nurses, I think saved Derek’s life and are still very involved in keeping him alive because it’s the nursing care – as well, of course, the brilliant doctors – but that [nursing] care the during critical days and months that made all the difference.
“But the problem is, isn’t it, that originally it was two percent [pay rise], then it move to one percent [pay rise], then it was sent to an independent review which decided three percent.
“We are in two trillion pounds worth of debt [as a country], there are people working in the private sector who are working incredibly hard, maybe in less emotive roles, but still working incredibly hard – who are losing their jobs because the economy is under such extraordinary strain,” she continued.
“There are other areas who of the public sector, like police and teachers who have also been feeling huge amounts of pressure who have got no pay rise.
“So, 12 percent, I think you won’t get!” Kate told Pat. “There has to be some form of compromise.”
Pat replied: “Yesterday wasn’t an award that will have any compromise in it, that’s it as far as the government is concerned.
“This is not ‘that’s it’ as far as our nurses are concerned, because if you don’t do the decent thing for nurses, you don’t do the decent thing for patients.
“This isn’t about pitching our nursing against our police service or against our teachers or anyone else, but there is no wealth without health, and you can’t have health without nurses staff – it’s as simple as that.
“It’s just plain and simple,” the guest exclaimed.
“Go into any hospital, who is the first person you will see? Who is the first people who will take you along and say ‘It’s going to be okay, we will look after you’. It’s a nurse and there’s 50,000 of those nurses already missing from our services.
“If we stand any chance of keeping our health services from falling over the precipice we must do the decent thing for nurses.”
Kate and Richard were joined by a variety of guests, later on, to discuss this further, one of which was Author Michael Rosen, whose life was saved by the NHS after he contracted Covid, said he “owes everything to NHS workers”.
“In my intestine care ward, there were 11 bays bit there were 24 of us [patients] in there and they [the nurses] were under the most incredible pressure – I was getting 24 hour care with no questions asked, two, three times my life was saved,” he told the presenters.
“And more than that, they taught me how to stand, how to walk – in the rehabilitation hospital – and indeed came here, district nurses and so on.”
Paramedic Paul Turner said the issue is deeper than asking for more money, he argued the NHS needed to be properly invested in.
“The recruitment retention is really at a bleak moment, we need to invest in the NHS and retain those members of staff,” he said.
“I can honestly say, in the ambulance service…if I tell you now, the NHS ambulance services aren’t sticking to the response times because we are under-resourced and underfunded. If you call an ambulance now, there’s a chance it’s not going to get there in the times set by this government, you’re probably going to be waiting a significant amount of time … not an extra minute, probably looking at half an hour to an hour.”
Following the discussion, Kate had her say again on the pay and how the nurses had helped Derek.
Richard asked: “There’s your Derek, and his life absolutely saved by the NHS. Do you identify with what Michael said there, how do you feel?”
She replied: “If it was up to me you couldn’t pay them enough, because it’s absolutely extraordinary what all members of the NHS did, but nurses particularly, you know how much their detail, their spotting, as it’s not just [them being] the first people you see as a visitor – of course, there were no visitors [during the pandemic].
“It’s actually the detail in a critical condition like that, with a virus that nobody knew at the point when Derek got sick the impact, the detail of blood pressure and cell count, a lot of that is all past to the nurses and very much on their shoulders.
“And it’s getting that right that makes all the difference and knowing when to call in the big consultant and work on it.
“I can’t say enough, of course they should get more,” she continued. “But it is also a difficult job for the government to work out how to balance and go forward and deal with tax rises that we all have to face.”
Kate added: “Nurses and doctors are still, very much involved in keeping Derek [alive] now.
“So the job is not done and we want to make sure there is enough of them there to keep going.”
Those watching the debate at home took to Twitter to comment on the three percent pay rise.
“Armed forces put them self literally in the line of fine on a daily basis for very little money because they want to fight for queen and country….let’s give them 12% aswel…. and firemen, police who deal with life and death on a daily basis,” someone argued.
Another tweeted: “Sorry, 12%? Yes we all love the NHS etc, etc, but it gets £132bn and rising a year, how is 12% in any way justifiable? Why stop at nurses? Police? Binmen? Council workers? Social care?”
“What about other key workers? Teachers have had to be front line, keep schools open during holidays. Shop workers keeping them going throughout with risk. Appreciate the stark issues the nhs staff have seen and dealt with but we have all suffered every single business, person,” a viewer asked.
One added: “Ridiculous request. 3% higher than most people will get this year if they’ve still got their jobs that is.”
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.
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