Whilst trying to battle some inner demons and support my daughter identifying and battling hers, along comes the budget.
NHS staff in England promised a 1% pay increase, which in real terms will be a pay cut. And I’ve been angry and upset. I am so fortunate to be in a role that I both love and pays enough for me to not have to even contemplate using a food bank. But there are many NHS staff that do.
When talking it through over the last couple of days, I have realised that the reason I’m so agitated and upset is because it isn’t about me. It’s about my people. I have the chance to work alongside nurses and healthcare assistants in various roles and with various responsibilities. I work together with allied health professionals and doctors every single day to make sure that patients continue to get the best possible care and health outcomes. It is why I am here.
But I fell head first into what started as a crack and is fast becoming a gaping ravine. Rather than refer to it as the NHS pay “increase”, it’s been marketed as the Nurses pay. Media pulling out and identifying nurses as being different than other NHS workers, creating negativity and bad feeling. This is deflection, distraction, bullying, politics.
If you look back over the last 48 hours or so, many news outlets are still using correct terminology with NHS workers. A select few have been planting the seeds by encouraging the public to think of this as being about nurses. And now starts to come the, “why do nurses think they are special”, a bit like those weeds that choke all the other plants in the garden.
I am ashamed to say that I fell for it. I identified with the #fairpayfornurses. But I didn’t for one second mean that I didn’t want fair pay for everyone else. I can’t imagine that any nurses would.
So, the NHS pay increase of 1%. Will nurses strike over it? Maybe. Will other NHS workers strike over it? I don’t know, I am not part of their union. Will it divide us? Not if we don’t let it. We all need to stay focused on the government and not pull down one another.