The NHS has again been centre stage this week following the announcement of a 1% pay rise for nurses.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) called this “pitiful”, arguing that its members should get 12.5% instead
Responding to the news Andy Symonds the Labour candidate for Clifton with
Maidenway said, “I’m a regular user of our NHS – I’m diabetic, and the care I receive has been second to none. But with the news that Health Service unions are putting together a £35 million strike fund, there should be no doubt – if they voted for industrial action over this insulting pay rise, they would have my 100% support and I would join their picket lines.
“The future of NHS services and care should be a key issue in the Clifton with Maidenway by-election. People think the NHS and the way we care for people is a national issue, but increasingly health and care is an issue for local councillors. The Council is a key partner alongside the NHS Trust, local providers and GPs. I want to make sure the new structures proposed by government in the last few weeks work for local people and those delivering services.
“In January, Labour members working in the NHS told us about how difficult the last 12 months had been for them. They are professionals, so we only see the smiling, reassuring faces, but they told us that behind that mask, the staff are at breaking point, are feeling stressed, overworked and that they did not feel supported by the organisations they worked for.
“If we do not see a considerable
improvement in pay and conditions across the NHS we can expect a major exodus of nurses and other front line staff in the near future. This week the government offered just a 1% pay rise to nurses, a cut in real terms when you consider inflation and no increase in tax allowances. Nobody should have been surprised at how nurses and nursing unions have responded. They need all our support.
“But my concerns go wide than nurses pay. Over recent years we have seen a major change in the way we access health services. The pandemic has also introduced changes that may not be reversed. For example, the way we contact our GP and increasingly consultants at the hospital, by telephone or online. We also know that the expectation is that people will have to travel more for treatment. It is not unusual to be asked to go to Newton Abbot or even as far as Dawlish for some clinics.
“I am not against change, but change needs to be in the interests of patients and the workforce, not just a way of dealing with ever less money for the NHS. I am determined to give local people a voice about these issues. I want to speak for those who don’t have transport, those who find online and telephone services stressful or confusing and I want to give a voice to those within the workforce who are also affected by these changes but find their concerns being ignored. We live in an area with an ageing population. Some local families have had the most terrible year separated from their loved ones. As we come out of the pandemic, they will need someone to fight for the issues they will face.”
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