When we asked this question last week on twitter, we were stunned by the unanimous “yes!” we received from nurses and other healthcare professionals.
— Dan (@gracenglorydan) June 18, 2014
— N!NJA (@Miss_NinjaStar) June 18, 2014
I’ll admit, it was a leading question, but interesting that not one person in the chat argued that politicians don’t take advantage of nurses’ altruistic natures. It seems the coalition government has lost a lot of friends with its move to give nurses a real-time pay cut, while awarding MPs an 11% pay rise.
In his RCN Congress keynote speech, Peter Carter acknowledged nurses’ anger over the government’s decision to ignore the Pay Review Body’s recommendation of a blanket 1% pay rise. But rather than pushing for industrial action, Mr Carter put forward plans to pressure ministers and their shadows through lobbying and protesting. In fact, he urged nurses to consider the consequences of striking and voiced a belief that this option isn’t wanted by the majority: “I would rather set out my stall that when it comes to crunch time, [nurses] are not going to be walking out of wards and leaving patients, they are not going to do it because they are not that type of people”
Cue a flurry of comments on our news story disagreeing strongly:
“Don’t you dare, Carter, don’t you dare. Of course we know the consequences of striking.” – Anonymous, 16 June
“STRIKE, STRIKE, STRIKE It is all we nurses have left. Please don’t listen to the clap trap from Carter et al at the RCN. They’re in cahoots with Govt.” – Anonymous, 17 June
“What a surprise the RCN rolling over AGAIN!!” – Anonymous, 17 June
I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
When we asked nurses on twitter however, many agreed with Peter Carter stating that patient safety comes first and they would never choose to strike. Others accepted this but argued that industrial action with the aim of improving standards would benefit patients and enhance safety in the long-term.
You can see a transcript of the heated discussion here: Should nurses ever strike?
While our twitter followers were split on whether industrial action should be the next move or not, the one thing everyone seemed to agree on was that something needs to happen, and soon. It feels as though nurses have been pushed too far this time and whatever happens next, I strongly suspect Cameron et al are going to regret annoying 400,000 voters in one fell swoop.
Where do you stand on this debate?