A Tory hereditary peer who enjoys a salary of £70,969 from the day he started has insisted that nurses are “well paid for the job” and that recruitment and retention is not a problem in the profession, as the row over the government’s 1% pay recommendation continues.
Junior health minister Lord Bethell also said he did not agree that pay was the best way to show nurses gratitude for their work during the coronavirus pandemic. Bethell made the controversial comments in the House of Lords this afternoon while fielding questions about the government’s ambition to give NHS staff just a 1% pay increase for 2021-22.
Denying that the pay settlement would equate to a real-terms pay cut Bethell said “There are millions of people out of work out of the back of this pandemic. There are lots of people who have had an extremely tough time and who face a period of unemployment” he said. “Nurses are well paid for the job, they have a secure job and they have other benefits. There are many people in this country who look upon professional jobs in the NHS with some envy and we shouldn’t forget the fact that some public sector jobs are in fact extremely well paid”.
The starting salary for a newly qualified nurse in the NHS at Band 5 is £24,907, while the most experienced matron or nurse consultant at the top of Band 8a would receive £51,668, not from the day they started!
Bethell, parliamentary under-secretary for health and social care, claimed there was a “long queue” of people wanting to become a nurse. I’m not sure if retaining is necessarily the challenge that the noble baroness points out” he said. “There has in fact been a 26% increase in acceptances to nursing and midwifery courses when compared to last year and there were 1,290 more applications made in 2020 compared to 2019.
“The truth is nursing is a challenging job, but it is a job that many people want to take up. There is a long queue of people who want these positions because they are rewarding in many different ways”.
Bethell should read the Nursing Times for the truth. Of how nurses worry about going home after nursing Covid-19 patients. Or about nurses requiring mental health support because of Covid-19.
Perhaps the real truth is these knobs are privileged by birth. We’ve long considered there should be elected members of both Houses. That’s democracy. If Bethell wants the salary and the daily allowance he should have to be elected. In the meantime he denigrates the really honourable nursing profession and shames the Tory party.