ACCORDING to the BBC, the biggest ever strike by nurses is likely to go ahead. The Royal College of Nursing is due to reveal the result of a ballot of its 300,000 members in the next few days but ‘sources say a large majority of nurses have voted in favour of action in a dispute over pay’. Any strikes would affect non-urgent but not emergency care.
Ah, nurses! The angels we clapped and banged pots and pans for every Thursday evening in the Covid days. They showed their gratitude in a multitude of TikTok videos made in those snatched seconds between caring for gravely ill patients, when they didn’t even have time to get a bite to eat or spend a penny. An amazing range of talents came to light.
Starting salaries for nurses in England are just above £27,000, rising to nearly £55,000 for the most senior nurses. The RCN says the average pay for a full-time established nurse was just above £32,000 last year, which is similar to average pay across the economy.
RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen said: ‘Our strike action will be as much for patients as it is for nurses. We have their support in doing this.’ No doubt patients whose treatment is delayed even more than at present will be grateful to the nurses for their thoughtfulness.
For months the public have been urged to get their nth Covid vaccine booster as the NHS faces the worst winter of all time. It is tempting to wonder if the nurses’ action is planned precisely to take advantage of this pressure on the service.
It all seems a long time since the angels had near-godlike status.