Recognising the value of nurses

On the day the news of Barclays’ attempts to manipulate interest rates broke, I was undergoing treatment in Hurstwood Park Neurological Centre in Haywards Heath.

On television I saw pictures of chief executive Bob Diamond and his fellow directors posing in photoshoots and drinking champagne at receptions.

Mr Diamond was also reported as refusing to resign, despite an organisation for which he now has complete responsibility acting in an unethical and, arguably, illegal way.

His one concession was to forego his annual bonus. This may not be much of a sacrifice for a man whose total pay package was reportedly £17.7m last year.

At Hurstwood Park I saw nurses working 12-hour shifts in cramped, under-resourced and difficult conditions. I saw them caring for patients and carrying out duties that many of us just would not do.

I saw them having a positive impact on the quality of people’s lives and making a real difference. I heard a patient say to a visitor: ‘This is a wonderful place.’

We make tremendous demands of nurses, pay them appallingly, and expect them to accept it because they belong to the caring profession.

There is no substitute for actually paying a wage that recognises the value and impact of what nurses do.

But I wonder how many of the bankers who tried to manipulate the interest rates for reasons of greed and self-interest ever heard someone say ‘this is a wonderful place’ because of the caring and compassion it displayed, rather than the opportunity it presented to make money at someone else’s expense.


Threals Lane, West Chiltington