It’s as though NHS employees – doctors, nurses or whoever – are the children of an abusive parent.
And Health Secretary Steve Barclay’s mistreatment of (among others) nurses has not gone unnoticed.
So the general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing has condemned as “disgraceful” his decision to “bully” nurses into submission with legal action against their next two-day strike.
Her response echoes that of an abused family member who has taken too much and refuses to accept any more…
The leader of the Royal College of Nursing has said a legal attempt by the health secretary to block next weekend’s strike in England is “frightening for democracy and very frightening for trade unionism”.
Pat Cullen, general secretary of the RCN, said it was “disgraceful” that Steve Barclay was attempting to thwart the strike via the courts, and said nurses would “not be bullied into silence”.
“We have instructed our legal counsel and we will stand up for nursing. This is about standing up not just for nursing but for trade unionism and for democracy,” she told the Observer.
“It’s utterly disgraceful that he [Barclay] would prefer to use money to challenge nurses than to pay them, at a time when those nurses are struggling to pay their bills. He is using public funding, patients’ money, to challenge nurses through the court.”
She added that a claim by Barclay that the government’s legal action sought to protect nurses who could “otherwise be asked to take part in unlawful activity that could in turn put their professional registration at risk” was a “blatant threat”. “He is trying to frighten nursing staff. That registration is their livelihood,” she said.
It’s actually insulting. Barclay is playing the ‘kindly uncle’ character, who fakes concern for youngsters in his charge while actually subjecting them to harm.
Sadly, his attitude is rubbing off on members of the general public, who are also starting to treat NHS staff as government property, in the same way some children have to comply with parental wishes (whether they are benign or not – and in this case they’re malign).
… to have.
If the government wants to retain NHS staff, they’re going to have to apply the market forces they’re so fond of, and start paying these professionals properly.
— Dr Julia Grace Patterson💙 (@JujuliaGrace) April 23, 2023
And what’s the upshot of all this abuse?
Let’s skip across to see what’s happening to doctors:
— Judy Hamilton (@secretspartacus) April 23, 2023
Like a child suffering mental health problems as a result of living in an abusive household?
You may be thinking that the comparison is false. Doctors and nurses are, after all, highly-trained professionals who could merrily move out to any other health organisation in this or other countries.
But the UK’s National Health Service has an emotional hold over almost everybody in the UK (Tory MPs and private health executives/shareholders excepted). It inspires almost familial loyalty in that respect.
That is a great strength in retaining staff – but also part of the problem because it gives Tories carte blanche to cut pay and otherwise abuse staff, which leads to the mental health problems that we’re seeing too.
It is vital to point out how this demonstrates the contempt in which the Tories in general – and Barclay in particular – hold NHS staff.
Without that understanding, it would be hard to understand why the Tories are obstructing pay negotiations the way they are.
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