Much attention is being gathered by the state of affairs at the UK’s National Health Service with the Parliamentary elections less than a month away. The winter crisis at the NHS was so acute that the Red Cross had given a warning of a ‘humanitarian disaster’.
The austerity drive of the government has resulted in the capping of the wage hike for the public sector at one percent for the last two years. If thresholds for previous years are taken into account, the nurses have received an effective decrease of 14% in their salaries for the last seven years as estimated by the Royal College of Nursing. Several nurses are living in acute tough situations, added RCN.
The workload on the nurses has also increased significantly along with the decrease of salary. In its recent report, the RCN had warned that Nurses are demanded to stay for longer hours even beyond their working hours. This is even after they have exhausted themselves after a 12 hours’ work day and have are severely exhausted at the time of returning to their homes, said the report of the RCN.
Diverse factors have resulted in an acute shortage of nursing staff at the NHS. England alone has vacancies of up to 40,000 for the nursing staff and the situation has been worsened by the modifications to the policies for immigration. This has made it tough for the nurses from Europe and India to arrive at the UK.
British Medical Association’s former Deputy Head and renowned campaigner of the NHS Dr. Kailash Chand has said that he has not witnessed the crisis of the nursing profession on the present scale in the NHS in his career of 30 years with the NHS quotes The Hindu. He also added that safety of the patients was next in the line of the current nursing crisis in the NHS.
Brexit is potentially making things even worse which has all possibilities of several thousands of EU nurses at the NHS exiting from the UK. Already there are reports that several nurses from the EU are increasingly moving out of the NHS.
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