A charity that supports nurses in personal and financial difficulty says it has seen a “shameful” rise in the number in crisis and desperate for help.
The Cavell Nurses’ Trust said it has seen a 32% increase in calls in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year.
“We know that the people we’re helping are just the tip of an iceberg”
In the first six months of 2016 the charity received 891 enquiries, but that shot up to 1,170 in the first six months of 2017.
The charity said it was pleased nurses suffering hardship were getting in touch. However, it said it was “greatly concerned” by the steep rise in the volume of calls.
Charity chief executive Simon Knighton feared the cases that the trust got to hear about represented just a fraction of nursing professional struggling to make ends meet.
“We know that the people we’re helping are just the tip of an iceberg and that there is an ever-increasing need for our services,” he said.
The charity supports UK nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants, both in work and retired, when they are hit by personal or financial problems, often due to disability, older age, domestic abuse and illness.
Research carried out by the organisation last year found tens of thousands of nurses, midwives and HCAs struggled to afford basics, including a second pair of shoes or paying utility bills.
Nurses were almost twice as likely to suffer financial hardship than the general public, the research found.
Mr Knighton described the situation as “shameful”, with many nurses teetering on the edge of crisis and “just about managing”.
“These are the same people that have worked to their last ounce of strength to be so dramatically and publicly here for us at recent terror attacks in Manchester and London, and in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy,” he said.
“Our nurses are undervalued,” he said. “Nursing teams in all sectors often don’t get the recognition they deserve and these vital and most cherished services really only survive because of the incredible commitment and goodwill from dedicated nurses. Things have to change.”
The warning is the latest to come from the charity over the past six months or so, as previously reported by Nursing Times.
- Charity sees spike in nurses experiencing hardship
- Nurses’ charity reports 60% spike in calls for financial help
It also comes as the government has come under increasing pressure on public sector wages, with a number of organisations and key NHS figures having called for an end to the 1% pay rise cap.
Meanwhile, the Royal College of Nursing has been holding a series of protests under the banner of “scrap the cap”.
- Unions up pressure on government to drop cap on NHS pay rises
- Nurses ‘pushed’ into staging pay protests, say RCN
- Inflation rate rises as CQC chief suggests nurses need better pay
For information on how to fundraise, donate or get help from Cavell Nurses’ Trust call 01527 595 999