Susanna Reid Perfectly Sums Up Why The Government Needs To Give Nurses More Money

The Royal College of Nursing is preparing to go on strike again next week as the government still refuses to discuss pay.
Susanna Reid said nurses were striking because they feared for patient safety.
Susanna Reid said nurses were striking because they feared for patient safety.
BBC Sunday Morning with Laura Kunessberg

ITV presenter Susanna Reid has spoken out about how why she thinks nurses deserve a pay rise as they ramp up strike action over the festive period.

Thousands of nurses walked out of hospitals across England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Thursday in a row with the government over pay and working conditions.

The government has so far refused to talk about pay with the health unions, leading to a stalemate situation.

The lack of agreement means nurses will strike again on Tuesday, while ambulance drivers will stage a walkout the following day.

Reid, who hosts Good Morning Britain on ITV, revealed that her mother was a nurse who still volunteers and “sees what nurses are going through every week”.

She told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme: “My mum registered as a nurse 60 years ago and has been a nurse on hospital wards, has been a community nurse, has been a health visitor.

“So she sees what nurses are going through every week when she volunteers but we see what nurses are going through every day.

“And the fact of the matter is, the government has got to sit down and talk with the union leaders about pay, because the nurses have been underpaid for far too long.”

She added: “Their point is that it’s got to a point where it’s unsafe. We need nurses to feel valued, and we need nurses who are going to continue doing the job. So we need to retain nurses and we need to recruit nurses as well.

“And unless the government gives a little bit of way on this, we’re not going to come to a deal which is going to satisfy the nurses and keep us all safe.”

The government has so far refused to accept the RCN’s demand of a pay rise of 5% above RPI inflation — which equates to 19% — saying it is “unaffordable” in the current economic climate.

On Sunday morning, Cabinet minister Oliver Dowden repeated the debunked claim that granting public sector workers a pay rise would lead to every UK household losing £1,000.

And he urged the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and ambulance workers to call off next week’s strikes.

He also said it was “not fair” to rely on members of the army to stand in for striking workers.

The RCN’s chief executive, Pat Cullen, has warned the government that strike action will escalate unless it gets around the negotiating table.

She told BBC Question Time this week: “We started today with 46 organisations. And why did we do that? We did that because we wanted to make sure that we manage this strike safely and effectively for every patient, the people that I’m speaking with here tonight in this room, and every other patient in England and Wales and Northern Ireland.

“As time moves on – unfortunately if this government doesn’t speak to us and doesn’t get into a room – I’m afraid that this will escalate.”


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