Let us hope that the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, will follow through his reported intention to put to the Chancellor his changed views on improving nurses’ pay – and that the outcome is positive.
I am a 77-year-old man who worked from age 16 to 65, mainly in local government and the Civil Service.
For parts of that period I was a union representative and I am familiar with public sector pay and pension issues.
Being disabled and not in the best of health, I attend several clinics and recently spent two weeks as an in-patient in intensive care and other units, where I was rescued from a serious condition.
In spite of the fact that all staff were hard-pressed, the attention and care I received was excellent and delivered in a friendly and competent way.
My contact with the nurses was pleasant and informative.
In some situations humour was the watchword and there was often a place for that.
But, not infrequently, nurses needed to overrun their shifts to complete their tasks.
These occasions may have disrupted their childcare or other domestic arrangements, which they seemed to accept as inevitable.
The 1% a year increase regime has run its course and has nowhere near maintained a decent standard of living for nurses and many other public employees.
At a time when some nurses are treating patients suffering the dire effects of terrorism and disaster, I urge all those in authority significantly to improve the rewards of all nurses and support staff as soon as possible.