Striking NHS workers have cause to resent government failure to fix a broken system

Striking NHS workers have cause to resent government failure to fix a broken system

SIR – While NHS workers planning to go on strike (Main article, December 4) may have a justifiable case for a significant pay raise, I suspect it’s the daily battle against shortages, backlogs, and under-resourcing on the front line that constitutes the real grievance.

We have an NHS that is overflowing with administrators earning six figure salaries, while there is a shortage of beds, nurses and doctors. Reports of delays, waiting lists and their often tragic results continue, but there is a deafening silence from the government regarding solutions.

When is the Government going to address what is probably the most important organization in the lives of the vast majority of the population? It is clearly not fit for purpose as is and requires a top to bottom reform.

A redistribution of pay from the top of the organization to frontline workers would be a start.

david garnett
Northwich, Cheshire

SIR: After 40 years of working in the NHS, both as a GP and in the hospital environment, I was thinking about the biggest thing that makes me want to go to work every day.

The answer, in my case, is to be part of a cohesive team of people who constantly work together and may even have fun along the way. The ability to do this has steadily eroded, primarily due to imposed management policies divorced from the realities of everyday medical practice and without physician involvement.

Organizations, whether small or large, must consider the natural human need for well-functioning teams to avoid low morale and constant staff turnover.

One example where this concept could be useful, in the nursing setting, is going back to the apprenticeship model of apprenticeship.

In this model, the person is immediately part of a team doing real work and will also receive a salary for doing it. A useful consequence of this would be the instant resolution of the nursing workforce crisis and a significant reduction in training costs for nursing students.

Dr Mark Vorster
Weston, Hertfordshire

SIR – Whatever the rights and wrongs of the nurses’ wage claim (report, December 8), surely it can never be right to go on strike at the risk of endangering life.

Yes, nurses have the right to strike, but they also have a responsibility to care for and save the lives of their patients. Surely that liability trumps any claim for payment.

Mark Calvin
Tretower, Brecknockshire

SIR: Many pharmacists in hospitals, doctors’ offices and on the street have been safely prescribing medicines, including antibiotics, to patients for many years, so proposals by ministers to ask them for help during NHS strikes are not entirely new (“Pharmacies drafted in to break NHS strike”, report, December 4) .

Additionally, new education standards mean that by 2026 all pharmacists will be point-of-registry prescribers, heralding a sea change in the way all pharmacists will be able to care for patients.

However, like any other healthcare profession, pharmacy teams are already under a lot of pressure. If the government wants all community pharmacy teams to help alleviate winter pressures through a new central service, it needs to provide the funding and workforce plan for it to be provided.

The role of a pharmacist is not the same as that of a doctor or nurse, so it is difficult to see how a pharmacist in his or her professional role could qualify as a ‘strike-breaker’.

teacher claire anderson
President, Royal Pharmaceutical Society
London E1

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