The son of a nurse who’d inspired almost her whole family to go into the same profession before her death from coronavirus has described the one per cent pay rise for NHS staff as an insult.
Linda Obiageli Udeagbala, 60, who lived in Croydon, south London, died last month after getting the virus.
She’d worked for the NHS for nearly 20 years, most recently with Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust.
Her son Colin, 33, has since slammed the government’s one per cent pay rise as disrespectful and an insult to a lot of nurses.
Earlier this week Health Secretary Matt Hancock insisted the one per cent pay rise for staff was fair, costing the government over £500 million a year, and said that he cared about nurses, but furious health unions, including the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Nursing and Unison, wrote an open letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak about their concerns.
NHS workers are now planning to carry out a socially distanced demonstration outside Downing Street and in Manchester city centre over the pay offer later today.
Mrs Udeagbala had encouraged some members of her family to seek a career in healthcare.
Her husband, Francis, is a psychiatric nurse, daughter Cheyrinne is a midwife, Angelica is a paediatric nurse, and son Colin, along with Gerard, are mental health nurses.
Colin, talking about the pay rise offer, told a news outlet that the pay rise has always been below inflation, so realistically, they’re not getting a pay rise, and he said that it seems like a pay cut to most people.
He said, that there were so many nurses that have to go to food banks and things just to make ends meet, and that, especially for nurses who have been pretty much on the front line of this coronavirus battle, a one per cent pay rise is especially small.
And he said that you would have thought that the government would say that they knew that nurses have sacrificed a lot, and that giving them more money would be their way of saying thank you.
Matt Hancock defended the wage proposal on Friday, claiming there were issues of affordability following £40 billion of borrowing by the Government during its response to the coronavirus crisis.
He told the Downing Street press conference that the pandemic had brought financial consequences but insisted the offer was fair.
Nurses should be commended for their vocation, and although they did it because they cared, it’s only right they should be compensated for that work – after all, they weren’t doing it for the benefit of their health, they were doing it for the good of other people’s well-being, and numerous people were made to work through the pandemic, but will get no recognition at all.
It’s okay for Matt Hancock, he didn’t have to deal with people dying every single day, and the psychological effects alone are worth more than the one per cent increase he’s offering.
The fact of the matter is care isn’t valued by any Government, and care given for free is of even less importance, and you would have thought that this pandemic would have taught us the value of things that matter, particularly our Government.
No clapping, no drawings of rainbows will put food on people’s plates, help them pay their bills or plan for the future – that’s if there’s any future left after this pandemic, and it’s mindblowing that in this first budget there’s not one mention of the thing we all seem to value in the depths of despair – care. It’s shameful.