When my daughter was born more than eight weeks early and lived in the hospital for her first six weeks in 2011, nurses helped save her life. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, a breast cancer nurse was with me through every step of my recovery, and we still keep in touch. Today, I live with Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia and chronic asthma and rely on the NHS every day; that’s why I’ll be on the picket line supporting nurses on strike.
I know the strikes may affect my care in the coming weeks, but this action is necessary to keep patients like me safe. Nurses are not just going on strike for themselves, they are going on strike to preserve the National Health Service For all of us.
The nurses who have cared for me have always provided incredible personal care and real empathy, combined with healthcare expertise I could not live without. I have seen first hand how much they care about their jobs and their patients. I know how difficult the decision to go on strike must have been for them, a measure of last resort to protect their lives and the lives of those they care for.
We have to listen to nurses when they tell us their wards are understaffed and their patients are in danger. They understand the risks better than anyone, and they feel bad when they’ve finished a shift after not giving everyone the attention they deserve, because they don’t have enough staff to do it. If we don’t pay nurses enough to live on, nurses will leave the NHS, others will have no incentive to train and the situation will only get worse.
Nurses are unable to pay their bills after years without proper pay increases. It is not okay for some nurses to be forced to use food banks, and that his salary does not even reach the basic cost of living. We all applaud caregivers during the pandemic, but what does that really mean if the government isn’t paying nurses enough to live now? It sends a message that we don’t value the work they’re doing, and when I think of all the ways nurses have cared for me and my family over the years, I’m devastated to think of how underappreciated they must be. feel.
That is why today I will be on the picket line with the nurses, to show them that I care about them as much as they cared about me. I won’t be the only patient showing support. Patient-led campaign group Just try she has signed up over 600 patients to join the nurses on the picket lines and has collected thousands more messages to pass on to them. I will be joining the nurses at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, where teams helped save my daughter’s life when she was born, as a way of saying thank you.
This government is using patients like me to argue against nurse strikes, pointing out the effect the strikes will have on us. But I already know that I may not be able to access the care of the nurses while this action is in place, and I know that the MRIs I’m waiting for may be delayed. I also know that nurses are the ones fighting to make my care better. They are fighting for more nurses on the wards, more NHS funding and better quality of care for all of us after years of government cuts.
The nurses are fighting for my life and your life, as they always have. So I will join them on the picket line as they demand the pay raise they deserve.