Eight nurses a day seek urgent financial help from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the organisation has revealed.
Eight nurses a day sought urgent financial help from their support-line between October and December 2016 to cope with the cost of living, figures released by the RCN today (2 May) revealed.
One in four of the nurses who received support grants worth approximately £450 were in full-time work.
Nurse pay not level with inflation
RCN analysis shows that average nurse salaries would be £3,000 to £4,000 higher if Government pay awards had risen with inflation this year.
All RCN members working in the UK are able to vote this month on whether to take industrial action over pay.
‘Complex reasons’ for nurses’ use of foodbanks
The RCN’s announcement comes just after Prime Minister Theresa May appeared to be flustered during her appeareance on The Andrew Marr Show at the weekend (30 April) when questioned about impoverished nurses.
‘I’m sorry Prime Minister but we have nurses going to foodbanks at the moment. That must be wrong,’ Marr said.
May replied: ‘We have… and there are many complex reasons why people go to foodbanks.
‘I want to develop an economy where, yes, we have a strong economy so that we can pay for the public services that people need, but also we have an economy where we’re creating secure jobs and well-paid jobs,’ she said.
‘Letting patients down’
Janet Davies, RCN chief executive and general secretary said: ‘The last thing public services need are sums that do not add up and irresponsible politicians offering ‘cheques in the post’. Slogans on buses and un-costed wish-lists let patients down and they must avoid the temptation.
‘At the weekend, Theresa May failed to acknowledge that nursing staff are forced to use foodbanks. But on her watch, eight nurses every single day are seeking urgent help just to get by. Even those in full-time work can’t make ends meet.
‘Nurses should not have to fund the NHS deficit from their own pay packets. After the election, for the sake of patient safety, the Government must scrap the pay cap and fill the tens of thousands of vacant jobs.’
A recent survey of 2,200 nursing professionals by Cavell Nurses’ Trust showed that nurses are twice as likely as the general public to suffer financial hardship. The trust, which offers financial support to struggling nurses, had a 36% increase in calls it received last year compared to 2015.