Jeremy Hunt’s latest attempt to avert a crisis in our NHS has been branded “half-witted” by a prominent lawyer. And in a video aimed directly at the Health Secretary, he pulls no punches in his assessment of the situation.
As The Telegraph reported [paywall] on Monday 7 August, Hunt has told the Department of Health (DoH) to work with the NHS to reduce the reliance on agency nurses. The plans, hailed [paywall] by The Telegraph as aiming to recruit an “army of nurses”, will try and reduce the £3bn agency staff bill. There are currently [paywall] over 30,000 full-time vacancies within the NHS; over 11,000 of which were for nursing or midwifery positions.
But lawyer-turned-campaigner Peter Stefanovic was so unimpressed by Hunt’s proposals that he recorded a video to express his outrage.
Seriously – WTF?!?
Stefanovic is becoming well known on social media. He’s getting a reputation for producing video shorts that cut through mainstream media bias; ones that tell the viewer the whole story on political and social issues. And in his latest video, he gets straight to the point, arguing that Hunt (“the man responsible for an NHS in crisis” and “responsible for the longest A&E waiting times since 2004”):
has come up with another cunning plan. This time, to stave off a potential nursing crisis after Brexit. And that… cunning plan is… wait for it… to recruit an ‘army of nurses’… Can someone in the Health Department not explain to Mr Hunt that… his actions actually have consequences?
Since 2010, the NHS has seen a real-terms cut in the amount of money given to it per patient; while the amount of NHS money paid to ‘independent’ companies has more than doubled to £8bn a year. Also, NHS workers’ pay increases have mostly been capped [paywall] at 1%. And regarding nurses, as The Canary previously reported, Hunt stripped their bursary (worth around £6,500 a year to students) and replaced it with the standard student loan system. Things are so bad for nurses that some are reportedly having to use food banks.
Stefanovic told The Canary:
It’s difficult to be sure whether the Health Secretary is half-witted or simply in denial. Either way, only the most inept of people would make it as difficult as possible for someone wanting to become a nurse and then make their life as hellish as possible once they’ve qualified and all at a time when we have a desperate shortage of nurses!
Hunt’s “army” recruitment drive will be unlikely to address the underlying issues facing nurses within the NHS. As the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) reported in July, twice as many senior nurses are leaving the profession than three years ago. Janet Davies, the RCN’s chief executive, said “staff shortages, relentless pressure and poor pay” were causing nurses to quit. She also said the true figure of NHS staff vacancies was nearer 40,000.
Until Hunt addresses these issues, his attempts to build an “army” of nurses will be as effective as putting a sticking plaster on a broken leg.
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