Two things of note have happened in the news this week, widespread picketing surrounding pay and conditions for the public sector and the always in touch with the man on the Clapham omnibus Wimbledon starting. With Thursday being D-Day for public sector pay freezes, or P-Day if you prefer, my former claims about nursing and midwifery as being a secure future may be one step closer to being, not just secure, but also better paid. Unless Philip Hammond tries to quash it as he suggested last night. But with the increasing clamour and the lack of appetite left for austerity it would be unwise for him to stick his neck out too far if he wants to sneak the premiership from under May’s nose. So what does that mean in real terms?
Well let’s start with what we know, yesterday it was announced that for the first time there were more people leaving the profession than joining it, by some margin. In fact in April and May 3,264 nurses left, which may not seem many but when you consider across the length and breadth of the country there are fewer than 700,000 that’s quite a hit for two months. Bear in mind, these numbers are for people registered as nurses, so you can’t massage that to be anything else, for example suggesting it was only NHS nurses or similar. We know that the NHS are paying around £3Billion a year in agency fees to non NHS nurses anyway so a simple calculation and one which many have been doing, is to up the pay for NHS nurses by eradicating the contractor spend.
Again it would be tempting to suggest that this as a result of Brexit and EU nurses returning to mainland Europe amidst concerns over their long term futures, but that rumour is also scotched pretty quickly as it’s mainly UK registrants. This isn’t about ideological or political concerns, it’s to do with poor working conditions and crap pay. The Royal College of Nursing estimates there are around 40,000 unfilled positions within the sector – this is clearly unsustainable and the pay cap like the polar ice caps may well be a thing of the past in short order.
All of which means there are likely to be increased incentives to get people to qualify or return to the industry which may include a return to offering bursaries and better pay and working conditions. As I said before (https://edducan.blog/2017/06/13/upside-down-watches-are-the-new-black-or-why-nursing-may-be-the-only-career-youll-ever-need-and-its-both-recession-and-future-proof/) it may well be an increasingly attractive opportunity and one which will never see you out of work and whilst not everyone’s first choices you can’t argue with job security if you’ve half a mind to work in healthcare anyway.
To keep it topical though and bring it back to a light-hearted summer pursuit, here’s a fun thought – if nursing isn’t for you perhaps work on your backhand. With Wimbledon now underway I thought it might behove us to examine for a moment how full heartedly we throw ourselves behind the former plucky underdog Andy Murray. If he repeats his success this year he will win a whopping £31.6 Million, or enough to fund around 1,264 nurses for a year. Now I’m not comparing the two, obviously Andy has to work really bloody hard…