Congress delighted to hear plans for Premiership footballers to kick the government into putting more money into nursing
RCN Congress delegates gave a standing ovation to economist Noreena Hertz who described her plan to use Premiership footballers to bring home the message to government that more money was needed to be put into nursing.
Hertz told Congress that she hoped to involve every Premiership club in the country in the event - MaydayforNurses - on May 13 this year. "I want it to be a huge spectacle. Nurses will be the only subject on people's lips that day," Dr Hertz said.
As well as planning publicity stunts involving nurses and famous footballers, Dr Hertz has asked all premiership players to donate their pay that day to a hardship fund for nurses. And with 28 days to go until the end of the season she has already signed up 73 players, including Thierry Henry, Jermaine Defoe and Gary Neville.
"I began to realise that not only were nurses not doing fine, there was a real crisis here," she said. "The government was completely in denial that anything was wrong."
"We can't let them get away with excuses," she added. "Not the government that has wasted £6bn on a war in Iraq, has an estimated overspend for the Olympics of £7bn and whose ID scheme will cost £18bn. It is not a question of resources, but a question of what the government chooses to spend.
"Mr Blair, Mr Brown, Ms Hewitt - what do you value more, the NHS or the Olympic bid?"
Dr Hertz emphasised that she did not think that footballers could solve the crisis in nursing, and her intent was not to turn nurses into charity cases. She wanted to use the footballers' celebrity to "create a sense of moral outrage about the government's treatment of the nursing community".