A Tory MP just revealed what his party really thinks of nurses

John Charles Baron implied nurses don't need a pay rise
Steve Topple

Conservative MPs really should be more careful when writing letters to their constituents. Because the chances are they may end up being published for all the world to see. A case in point is that of an Essex MP and his views on nurses.

Carry on clapping

Nursing Notes reported that Lesley Bailey, a community nurse, received a letter from her local MP John Charles Baron (Basildon and Billericay). In it, he said:

The NHS has risen to the challenge of this pandemic, we and all appreciate and grateful for the excellent work of our healthcare professionals at this challenging time. I am sure the weekly ‘clap for carers’ will have confirmed to the many that they are valued and respected.

I would also add that NHS workers, like the vast majority of people working in the public, have largely continued to receive their usual pay throughout the pandemic.

Considering NHS workers have been working flat-out during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the government paying them isn’t exactly an achievement. But Baron then touched quite a nerve with his next comment. He said:

Whilst I believe in a fair pay settlement for NHS workers, I believe there may be more important calls on the public finances in the near future to support those who find themselves unemployed through no fault of their own.

Oh dear. Not the best of moves from Baron, not least when it’s a nurse reading the letter. Also because in one of the richest countries in the world, the issue of nurses’ pay and social security shouldn’t be an ‘either/or’ choice. It isn’t. But moreover because the issue of NHS staff pay, and specifically nurses, has hit the headlines recently.

What pay rise?

The Canary reported in August about NHS workers marching across the UK. They were calling on the government to give all healthcare staff a decent pay rise – 15% to be precise. Campaigners said the government chose to “exclude” some NHS staff from a pay rise. As The Canary wrote:

The ‘exclusion’ of some workers from the public sector pay rise relates to a recent government announcement. In July, it said it would give doctors a 2.8% pay rise. In part, this is because they were excluded from previous wage increases.

It continued:

But the government’s logic for giving doctors a pay rise (they hadn’t had one) was the same (but reversed) it applied to not giving any other NHS worker’s one. In short – they’d already had at least a 6.5% rise since 2018. So, according to the government, they don’t need another one.

Baron’s views left people on social media unimpressed:

Andrew Swan suggested that this classist opinion about nurses and lower-end NHS staff is nothing new:

Ideological opposition

Meanwhile, Joshua Silver noted where else the government might be spending the money Baron thinks NHS staff shouldn’t get:

Indeed, the Tory government has made some distinctly dubious spending decisions during the pandemic. And as former Conservative lobbyist Shahmir Sanni wrote for Byline Times, many Tories ideologically oppose the NHS – or any state-funded social programme for that matter.

So Baron’s views are unsurprising and probably endemic across much of the Tory benches. If nurses were hoping for a pay rise, they’d better not hold their breath.

Featured image via David Woolfall – Wikimedia 

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  • Show Comments
    1. Sooner or later people will wake up to the fact the Tories exist to look after the rich and the comfortable. They opposed the creation of the NHS, since 1979 have done everything they can to marketise it, have broken it up so it is barely a national service, have encouraged private vultures to swoop in on the body they have starved, and now, as it’s convenient, claim to be its greatest friends. The essence of Toryism is a belief in inequality. It is a doctrine which puts the alienated for of human capacities, money, before all else. Sooner or later, the penny will drop. If you believe in great institutions like the NHS, don’t vote Tory.

    2. This asshole gives hypocrisy a bad name! For the past 40 years, people have been losing jobs as a direct result of government policy! The government has deliberately used unemployment as an anti-worker weapon! In a just world, the entire Tory party would be up on charges of Crimes Against Humanity!
      Bring Back Jezza!

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