‘Absolutely disgusting’: Chesterfield nurse hits out at Government’s ‘shameful’ 1% pay rise offer for NHS staff

A Chesterfield nurse has told of his anger at the Government’s proposed one per cent pay rise for NHS staff.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 4:11 pm

The Department of Health has suggested the one per cent increase – which would apply to all NHS workers apart from junior doctors, GPs and dentists.

Dame Donna Kinnair, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), warned this would mean just £3.50 more per week in take-home pay for an experienced nurse.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Matthew Tacey and others on a march in Chesterfield last summer.

Matthew Tacey, a lead nurse based in Chesterfield, hit out at the news.

He said: “I was very, very, very angry when I heard about it – but you know what, I wasn't shocked because we've experienced austerity for the past 10 years.

“A part of me expected the Government to recognise the efforts we've put in this last horrendous year – the NHS has helped to save so many lives, including Boris Johnson's.

“We thought they’d show some compassion and reward us fairly, but no.

“It's just absolutely disgusting – shameful.”

The Derbyshire Times asked Mr Tacey what his message to the Government would be.

He replied: “You've not just attacked the NHS with this pathetic offer of one per cent, you've also attacked our patients and our communities.

“Poor pay is linked very closely to poor staffing and poor staffing results in patient care being compromised.”

The RCN's governing council voted on Friday to set up a £35million ‘industrial action fund’ to support members who would lose income should a strike happen as a result of the latest development.

Mr Tacey said the Government should ‘prepare to see millions of NHS and members of the public take to the streets soon’.

He added: “If we don’t do anything, they won’t change their minds – we’re going to have to take drastic action to make them change their minds.”

Unison, the UK’s largest trade union, said people should stand on their doorsteps and balconies at 8pm next Thursday to join a mass slow handclap in protest at the ‘derisory’ planned wage increase.

Mr Tacey said: “Sadly, I think this will fall on deaf ears again.

“What I would urge the people of Derbyshire to do is write to your MP about this and make your feelings know.

“When we do take to the streets when it’s safe to do so, please stand shoulder to shoulder with your NHS staff.

“The NHS is always there for you – now it’s time for you to be there for us.”

Nadine Dorries, health minister and a former nurse, said she was ‘pleasantly surprised’ that any rise had been proposed – with the Government set to borrow hundreds of billions of pounds this year to support people and businesses through the pandemic.

She told the BBC that nurses ‘do their job because they love their job’ and added that ‘we totally appreciate their efforts over the past year’.

The Department of Health said a spike of anything more than one per cent could lead to cutbacks in other areas of spending on the health service.