Russell Brand joins west London nurses on ‘fair pay’ march

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Comedian Russell Brand has joined west London nurses on their march for ‘fair NHS pay’.

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) members working in west London took part in a rally on Saturday in protest at the Government’s decision to refuse a pay rise this year to most NHS staff.

Comedian Russell Brand was among a crowd of thousands of nurses marching from Embankment to Hyde Park as part of the TUC’s Britain Needs a Pay Rise event.

In March, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt sparked anger from nursing staff by overruling the independent NHS Pay Review Body’s recommendation of a one per cent pay rise for all staff.

Jane Morton, a sexual health nurse at West Middlesex University Hospital, said: “I’ve never marched before but I feel enough is enough with no pay rise for three years. As an RCN member and a nurse we need to join together and show our unity and disgust with this Government.”

Jacqueline McCollin, Pre-Operative Assessment Sister at London Northwest Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “The Government fail to accept that the NHS is run by the good will of nurses.

“Nurses work way beyond their 37.5 hour week, without extra pay or acknowledgement. We do it because we are passionate about our jobs and need to ensure that our patients are being cared for and safe. Nurses are angry at being treated like second class citizens.”

Claire Jeeves, Staff nurse on heart and lung transplant unit at Harefield hospital, said: “As a nurse I feel undervalued by the Government who have rejected the independent pay review body recommendation to award NHS staff with a one per cent pay rise. Nurses do not join the profession for high pay but we do expect a decent living wage.

“We want to give the best possible care, but cuts to services and poor staffing levels make this more and more difficult to achieve.”

RCN London Regional Director Bernell Bussue said: “The pay freeze is having a significant impact in the recruitment difficulties and nursing shortages we have seen right across London. The Government must wake up and begin to value nursing and healthcare workers properly, and make sure the health professions remain attractive and affordable careers in our capital city before staff shortages start to damage patient care.”

The Health Secretary says a one per cent pay rise for all NHS staff could lead to job losses.

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