Our National Health Service is facing an unprecedented challenge and I’m immensely grateful for the extraordinary efforts of staff, who are putting their lives at risk to protect and care for others.
I pay tribute to student nurses who have opted to work in our NHS at this extremely difficult time. The latest figures show that more than 26,000 student nurses and midwives have joined the frontline. I believe it’s right that they’re rewarded for their hard work and dedication.
Student nurses in our constituency and across the country have cut their studies short, and in some cases, have left other jobs to join the national effort to combat coronavirus. I was therefore dismayed by reports that some student nurses, who joined the frontline and put themselves in harm’s way to help us overcome the pandemic, were told that their paid placement schemes would be terminated early. How ungrateful of this Tory Government!
Following a period of uncertainty, Health Education England recently confirmed that student nurses will be fully paid until the end of their contracts. I join the Royal College of Nursing in welcoming this clarification.
More widely, I recognise the concerns of Slough residents that many of those on the frontline have been undervalued and underpaid for far too long. Health and care staff have made enormous sacrifices during the outbreak and we owe them and the whole country a vision of a better future beyond the lockdown.
The Government has said it’s considering how to recognise the work that healthcare staff are doing to support the collective effort. I believe they need the Government’s full support, now and beyond the pandemic, which includes a guarantee of safe staffing levels, PPE and decent fair pay.
Student nurses and NHS and care staff, many of whom are exhausted and fearing burn-out, need more than Thursday evening clapping. They’ve been asked to give so much and they too often get so little in return. I will continue to press the Government to recognise and reward frontline staff for the skill and selfless dedication they bring to their jobs.