On December 17th we conducted a street survey of the public in Pickering and Thornton Dale. Of those who spoke to us not one supported the government imposing a 15% cut on Nurses’ pay, not one thought it was right to spend £9 billion a year on agency and bank staff and every single one thought the government should negotiate and come up with a fair deal.

In refusing to deal fairly with NHS nurses the government appears to have a death wish. It’s as though having given up on winning the next general election as a result of their multiple past failures they no longer care about making further blunders. Their claim that they are being ‘reasonable’ is patently untrue and is not believed. Their claim that they have no choice but to implement the Pay Review Board’s recommendations  is false and is not believed. Their claim that the Pay Review Board is independent is belied by the fact that the board members are appointed by the government and that its terms of reference are dictated by the government, including that the board should ‘ consider the financial circumstances of the government’ i.e. its budget.

This may explain why the government is confronting nurses but is inexcusable. It is our NHS not theirs. It is the public who cannot afford to pay for private health care who will suffer if the NHS descends into chaos under this government’s stewardship. Our street survey also showed that the overwhelming majority of Ryedale people do not believe the NHS is safe in the hands of this government.

The only constructive way forward is for the government to shelve the Pay Board’s recommendations and re-enter negotiations with everything on the table. It is to be hoped that Mr Hollinrake will put his weight behind the growing clamour for this to happen.

Mick Johnston, Chair of Thirsk and Malton Labour Party.

Ryedale Supports Nurses
Ryedale Supports Nurses

This letter was originally published in the Yorkshire Post, 21st December 2022

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