Frontline nurse reveals that ‘too many colleagues are using food banks’ amid crisis

“Too many of us are living out of the food bank.” That is the startling message from a Birmingham nurse who says frontline NHS workers who battled heroically to save lives during the pandemic are now struggling to put food on the table.

Birmingham Live has learned of the scale of the crisis facing nurses in the region, with visits to food banks by union reps now becoming a routine part of their role amid serious concerns for NHS workers because they are not making enough to keep up with surging energy , food and petrol prices, meaning they have received a real-terms cut to their earnings. Olga Leach-Walters, a nurse at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital and a Royal College of Nursing (RCN) rep, delivered a clear statement to the Government at a key nursing conference this week.

She said: “Message to Boris Johnson from nurses all over the UK. Too many of us are living out of the food bank.” Ms Leach-Walters, a nursing advocate who helps staff with their problems, told Birmingham Live: “Nurses are struggling really bad.

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“Some are telling me they don’t eat or they are having to say to their kids don’t eat. It’s really difficult. I’m finding a lot of people are struggling and it’s causing a lot of issues at home.”

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke out on the issue at the RCN Congress in Glasgow. He said: “Two years ago, the NHS was deservedly awarded the George Cross for its work during the pandemic, but the reward for individual nurses has been pay settlements way below inflation, leaving nurses much worse off.

Gordon Brown

“Now, as part of the Platinum Jubilee, members of the armed forces and emergency services are rightly receiving Jubilee medals. I say all nurses too should be lining up to receive Jubilee medals, but instead – and it’s almost unbelievable this is the case in the fifth richest country in the world – today, too many nurses are lining up at food banks.

“I hate the idea of ​​nurses doing long shifts and then having to leave the beds of their patients to queue up for food parcels. Surely, as a country, we didn’t come all this way to end up in the year 2022 with food banks, bedding banks, baby banks and clothes banks replacing the welfare state as our last line of defense against poverty and low pay?”


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