Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Why Don't Nurses Strike?

Why don't nurses go on strike? Is it just because they are such nice people, so caring, vocational and dedicated? Are they far too responsible to risk the lives of patients - sorry I mean "service-users"? Well yes but that's not the only reason.
As predicted, the NHS trusts are cutting nurses' pay and making them feel unwanted and unappreciated. Their latest ploy is to do away with the half-hour overlap between one shift and another, the time traditionally allowed for the outgoing nurse to brief the incoming nurse about all the patients on the ward. New ones, risky ones, difficult ones, any problems at all, could be pointed out and help given in dealing with them. Not any more. Now the incoming nurse will have to rely entirely on notes written by the outgoing nurse or the doctors - on a computer of course.
By cutting half an hour off the shift time the NHS Trust will be able to reduce what each nurse earns. After working the same number of shifts they currently work in one year, they will find that they have fallen behind by nearly a month's work - which they will have to make up for the same pay. So the Trust saves money and patient care will suffer. I am told that we have a lady called Claire Culpin to thank for this particular ruse.
Not only that, but the nurses are now going to be forced to work for nine days in succession before having a day off. That is far too much, and what is more it is against the Bible. (I am going to put this in as it amuses me to find that certain readers have mistaken me for a religious fundamentalist and that is a myth I want to perpetuate. Of course anybody who knows what is in the Bible must be a religious fundamentalist, just as anybody who knows what is in the Iliad must worship the Greek gods). The fourth of the Ten Commandments says "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates".
And that seems to me to be a jolly good idea.
Until recently it was enshrined in a lot of employment law and legislation, dating back to the Industrial Revolution. Everybody needs at least one day off per week. If you need a nurse 24/7, get a different one.
So why is it that nurses don't go on strike? They have had to spend three years getting a degree in order to have the job at all, and now their pay and conditions are being down-graded. But as their managers constantly tell them, they can be replaced at any time by nurses from elsewhere in the EU. The NHS trusts actively recruit in Spain and Portugal, as well as in Eastern Europe. Anybody qualified anywhere in the EU is entitled to come and swipe these jobs from British nurses. With rocketing unemployment in Greece and Ireland there is simply no reason why the NHS Trust should not use foreign labour to replace all its nurses, particularly any who are so grumpy and unreasonable as to join a union in the first place.
Of course only an "extremist" or a "racist" would see any drawbacks to being in the EU...

http://www.oxfordradcliffe.nhs.uk/aboutus/partnersdocs/110504april2011brief.pdf
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