“Think of what Jeremy Hunt’s doing to the NHS” said the nurse as she strapped the apparatus round my upper arm and prepared to take a reading.
I was in Stepping Hill Hospital and my blood pressure had been dangerously low the previous day so the nurse was suggesting that my reading would shoot up if I had anger at Mr Hunt’s lackadaisical treatment of our great national asset.
I spent a week as an in-patient in Stepping Hill. The treatment I received was fantastic.
The nurses showed great dedication, diligence and friendliness. The doctors discussed my condition and proposed course of treatment with me and sought my views.
Most of the nursing staff were from EU counties, principally Spain, Italy and Portugal. All spoke excellent English and never showed the slightest sign of irritation when summoned at any hour of the day or night. The doctors were a range of different nationalities.
Our NHS relies on those from overseas coming to the UK to work in our hospitals. What worries me is our inept Government’s failure to ensure that residence rights for EU nationals will be protected once Brexit comes into force. It is hopeless for Mrs May to say that the EU should ensure that the rights of British citizens in EU counties should be protected first.
The UK should be taking the lead on this. We need to assure EU staff in the NHS that their contribution is appreciated, that they are welcome here and that we could not do without them.
We also need to give them the pay rise they deserve. Ever since the Tories came to power in 2010, NHS staff have had a one percent pay rise imposed every year. Their pay has fallen behind just about every other profession other than civil servants. This is a national disgrace, especially when one considers the hefty pay rise MPs have given themselves.
I seem to recall Edwina Currie saying that she thought nurses were well paid. While not wishing that the former MP and writer of trashy fiction falls ill or has an accident necessitating a stay in hospital, perhaps she should go to Stepping Hill and see the amazing work carried out by the staff there. She might just change her views.