‘We can’t cope anymore’: The NHS nurses driven to strike

‘We can’t cope anymore’: The NHS nurses driven to strike

Nurses across England, Northern Ireland and Wales will be on strike today as the NHS faces unprecedented levels of labor action over wages over the next seven days.

Thousands of operations have been postponed and A&E will be operating at the Christmas Day staffing level during the busiest time of year.

For nurses across the country, who say they are on strike for the safety of patients who have to experience understaffed services every day, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

The NHS’s four chief nurses warned the nurses’ union, the Royal College of Nursing, of patient safety concerns in a letter sent on Monday.

Yet the nurses say the independent They are surprising because security has been greatly compromised by scarcity.

‘No choice’

Charlie Rumary, nurse, Sussex

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Charlie Rumary, nurse, Sussex

(Charlie Rumary)

Charlie Rumary, a nurse from Sussex who has been working in the NHS for 11 years, said he was “really disappointed” with the letter from the heads of nursing.

He said: “Safety is the key reason why we all stay on the job… In general, across the country, where safety and patient care aren’t good enough, those of us [that] We’re still in the profession, we’re still trying to do everything we can.”

“None of us want to compromise patient safety through a strike, but right now we have no choice. There’s nothing else to come, you know, without going on strike and making pay a component of a better, more sustainable workforce. That’s the only way we have to retain people who are in the workforce and we have to encourage people to join the workforce.

“I was never going to compromise the security of my apartment by going on strike, but I wanted to send a message to the government that the current situation is not acceptable.”

The NHS has 50,000 nursing vacancies across the UK, with demand higher than ever, and recent research shows that nurses’ pay has fallen by 20 per cent in real terms over the last decade.

Rumary said nursing was “very hard work.” He added: “It’s quite physically demanding, most of the nurses are on their feet all day. It is absolutely mentally demanding. You are balancing the stress of work. You are balancing the needs of your patients. That case commands an incredible price. So the idea that we can, you know, be in a race to the bottom to get the cheapest possible workforce to do such safety-critical work is amazing.”

‘We can’t anymore’

Amanda Smith, ICU nurse, Northern Ireland

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Amanda Smith, ICU nurse, Northern Ireland

(Amanda Smith)

Amanda Smith, an ICU nurse in Northern Ireland, said the independent: “I certainly wouldn’t like to go on strike, but I feel like I have to because the government doesn’t listen to us. It is not acceptable to pay agencies and pay large amounts of money for the recruitment of international nurses, and not pay your own nurses adequately.”

She said the NHS she sees now is “unrecognizable”.

“When I get to my shift, there are 50 percent agency staff. We have a lot of new international nurses recruited because a lot of staff have left and a lot of staff are leaving for pay and going into the private sector, and we really need to retain our nurses in the NHS.

“Many nurses work 60-hour weeks because they work agency shifts in addition to their own shifts, but obviously that’s not sustainable over a long period of time.

“So because of the salary issues, people decide to leave and that creates big gaps in our health service, the safety issues for patients.”

She explained that it was difficult to work in a situation where nurses go home having tried to do everything they can but knowing that the care has not been good enough.

“You wouldn’t want your own relative to stay three days after [a] car before they can be admitted to the hospital…and that is the situation we are dealing with right now.”

“I have heard of nurses leaving their shift in tears… because they can’t take it anymore due to lack of resources and not enough staff to care for these patients.”

‘Morally unfair’

Another nurse from London said: “I have nursing students… I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago, [with one] that he wants to sleep in his car all night because he can’t afford to drive home and come back with gas.

“If someone asks me why I’m on strike, of course people are going to say ‘yes, it’s also [about]pay’, but the main reason we’re doing this is that we do our job to take care of other people and we’re not doing very well right now because of understaffing, underinvestment in nursing. It is having a massive impact on our patients.”

It is “appalling” and “morally unfair” to have staff in this position.

He added: “The real reason we can’t provide that care and why I have to stand there and apologize [and say], ‘I’m sorry your mother didn’t wash today or didn’t take her medicine on time’, which has affected her care. Or that she still hasn’t been discharged and is worse… I wouldn’t say that if we had invested in nursing. “

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