Councillor recovering from Covid-19 calls for bigger pay rise for nurses

A Shropshire councillor who is recovering from coronavirus is joining calls for frontline nurses to get at least a 2.1 per cent pay rise.

Councillor Tracey Huffer, who represents Ludlow East on Shropshire Council, and is also an NHS nurse, was responding to proposals to give nursing staff a one per cent rise.

She said that Government ministers seem not to have taken into account that nursing staff were exhausted having taken on extra shifts, were facing danger at work and needed a boost.

“I have watched Covid-19 from the frontline," said Councillor Huffer.

Ludlow East councillor Tracey Huffer

"Health workers get sick, sometimes with Covid. Some have had to step back from work at times to look after their children or family members who are isolated or unwell.There was so much unknown at the beginning.

"The rate at which the disease spread. In hospitals, there was the lack of PPE. Many medical staff fell ill. Some died.

Committed

"It has got a lot better but we still have uncertainty over the emergence of new variants of Covid-19. Health service staff have been under huge pressure for years. But anyone who has been recently treated by GPs and hospital staff knows that they are wonderful people doing their best in the most difficult of circumstances."

She added: “NHS staff are so committed they have worked flat out. They have volunteered for extra shifts and been called into to plug gaps in staffing. They have often gone off shift with barely enough time to eat and sleep before returning for the next shift.

“The vaccination programme got under a slow start in some areas, including here in south west Shropshire. But the catch-up has been brilliant. So much effort by so many professionals and volunteers has led to close to 100 per cent of people over 65 being vaccinated here in Ludlow and across Shropshire.

“I hope Ludlow will hold biggest party ever for all the people who have helped during the pandemic. That might not take place until later in the year. Even until next year. But it must take place.

“Nationally, NHS staff deserve the pay rise they were promised. That was 2.1 per cent. They really deserve more.

“Of course, we are short of money at a nation. But the experience of the last year has shown that without the absolute dedication of NHS staff working beyond the call of duty, we cannot tackle an epidemic or other public health emergency.

“That’s why NHS staff deserve the pay rise the government is cruelly denying. ”

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