Fighting for fair pay in the NHS

From: Sarah OwenWilmington Road, Hastings

Friday, 15th September 2017, 9:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 11:39 am
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NHS staff deserve more than just warm words.

A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated my grandma’s birthday.

It’s painful to admit but it was a birthday we weren’t sure we were going to see. A month ago she had a stroke. A big bleed. The odds were not in her favour.

It happened on a Sunday and although the care from everyone was faultless at Eastbourne District General Hospital, it took roughly three hours to get a CT scan to confirm that grandma was indeed having a stroke.

This was not the staff’s fault, they were working under tough conditions and chronically understaffed.

Those hours in A&E were long and terrifying. But it was not alien.

We had been in the same situation with my grandad last year. So when we were taken to East Dean Ward there was a huge comfort in knowing that the same kind, highly professional people who had nursed my grandad back to health would be sharing their precious care with grandma.

Over three weeks of watching the head of our family sleep and fearing the worst, this fighter showed signs of improvement and there’s been no stopping her since.

See, grandma has always been a fighter and all through her life she has fought for the NHS and supported the dedicated people who work in it.

She remembers what it was like before the NHS and knows the painful consequences of not having access to free healthcare.

As we watched and talked with the fantastic nurses, physios and healthcare assistants it confirmed what I already knew – that it is unjustifiable that these hard-working givers in our society earn less than they did the year before; that they have been earning less and less for the last seven years.

It is unbelievable that the fantastic health care assistants caring for my grandma are likely to be taking home less in real terms pay than I was when I did the same job more than 10 years ago at the Conquest.

Seeing these and thousands of other workers like them get paid fairly and ending the public sector pay cap isn’t just imperative to the future of the NHS, it is also the right thing to do.

So I promise to use the fight passed down the generations of strong women in our family to continue fighting for our NHS – for now and for future generations.

Thank you to all the staff at Eastbourne Hospital, particularly on East Dean and Sovereign Ward for your professionalism, patience and compassion which has made a dark time for our family end with hope.

Words are not enough to show our gratitude.