Ness Woodcock-Dennis, is one of the main organisers for the NHS Workers Say No! protests taking place this Saturday 8 August. She is a Registered Nurse and nursing lecturer and explains here why it is so important to join nurses demanding better pay.
The Facebook group ‘NHS Workers Say No!’ was set up in response to the government's decision not to include nurses and healthcare workers in the recently announced public sector pay rise.
As a registered nurse and nursing lecturer, this felt like a slap in the face for the healthcare workforce, particularly nursing as in recent years the government have made every effort to make the nursing profession not only unattractive to people wanting to start a career in nursing, but also unsafe.
The government’s decision to remove the student bursary in 2017 has impacted the nursing profession greatly making recruitment difficult, but also increasing the financial hardship many of our nursing students face. As a nurse educator, I have seen more students resorting to working over their recommended hours. I have also seen more students seeking financial hardship support, which in turn impacts wellbeing and mental health. In fact there has also been an increase in students seeking help in relation to their own wellbeing.
We know from the Mid Staffordshire Inquiry that there is a direct correlation between stress and mental health issues and how this contributes to poor patient care, particularly when services are already at breaking point as a result of years of government cuts.
This is the time for the government to finally put right what for too long has been wrong. The government needs to invest in the healthcare workforce now, particularly as we find ourselves at the beginning of a second wave of COVID-19.
Without a fully functioning fully protected workforce there is no healthcare system.
A number of nationwide demonstrations are being called for Saturday 8 August. You can see upcoming events on our Events page, including a list of the 8th August demonstrations, which we will keep as up-to-date as possible.
If you work within the NHS and want to get involved you can find out more about our new campaign group NHS Staff Voices here. Whether or not you work in the NHS, you can also join Keep Our NHS Public online as a member at any time.