The second wave

After a year spent fighting COVID-19 on the wards, NHS nurses are ‘running on empty’. UNISON’s national nursing officer Stuart Tuckwood reflects on the experience

On 11 March 2020 the World Health Organisation declared the COVID-19 outbreak to be a global pandemic. A year later, the UK is beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel, but the danger is far from over. And after months fighting the pandemic’s second wave, the health team is at breaking point.

UNISON’s national nursing officer Stuart Tuckwood reflects on the experience and speaks with colleagues on the frontline.

The second wave

9 thoughts on “The second wave

  1. Sandra Dormand says:

    The NHS have been pushed to their absolute limits due to the Covid pandemic, and I, as well as everybody else, cannot praise them enough for their sheer dedication and professionalism throughout this entire nightmare situation. They are a true inspiration to us all, despite may of them having to deal with Covid themselves and their families, with sadly some of them not making it.

    The NHS are an absolute god send that we should never take for granted.

  2. Jane Caradine says:

    I believe that all nurses deserve a pay rise, they work long shifts and this is a vocational job. If you have even been in hospital you will know how caring all the staff are and ow well they look after you.

  3. John says:

    The Nurses & Doctors that everyone wants to thank and clap for are a small number of the support mechanism that keeps the NHS engine running, we all have a story to tell and the year has been hard for ALL nhs staff but the people at the bottom or what is classified as “non-patient facing jobs” don’t get a luck in. In my Job I worked on a number of COVID wards as did many others and in fact contracted covid 19 due to this. My point is Look at the bigger picture.

  4. Lynne Christopher says:

    I am thankful every single day that we all have the NHS in the Uk
    the NHS staff are the backbone of our Health Service . Really those of us who have been outside the security of NHS appreciate it even more . There are so many of us that can take for granted the availability of health care for everyone in the UK it is not like that for everyone in the world. We have a duty to our NHS workers to ensure that their gift of service to all of us is recognised and valued beyond just saying thank you! We must reflect our gratitude in ensuring that everyone is awarded fair pay for the valuable service they have and continue to give on a daily basis, regardless of their own needs.

  5. Dan Deptford says:

    Shouldn’t Unison advocate a slow handicap as well wherever government members go in public.

  6. Evelyn Bewaji says:

    All NHS Staff should be awarded fair pay, they are the ones that are fighting for the lives of everyone in this country. They have carried on working even when they have had family, friends and colleagues die of covid 19, and if they caught it and recovered, they then returned to work to continue helping those in need. Not to forget most of these workers did not even see their own families. The nation has backed the NHS all the way. 1% pay rise is an insult to the NHS and the nation.

  7. Laurie Hudson says:

    Whilst there are nurses at the front line, they are supported by equally exhausted and anxious teams. The whole Of the NHS needs an uplift and a tangible thanks for stepping up in the countries year + of need and facing the greatest risk of the highest viral load.

  8. Denise Flock says:

    All n.h.s. staff and that includes the personnel that were and still are contracted out. All doing amazing jobs weather that be cleaner, catering, porters, Waste and lining. Every day doing there bit to help others we all deserve a pay rise.we were the losers when our local n.h.s decided to privatise our jobs. We lost money and some benefits and now 1% pay rise.

  9. Sara Bland says:

    We have seen our income fall by 12% between 2010-11 and 2020-21 as a result of years of below-inflation 0% and 1% pay rises.

    We are short staffed, however you may want to look at it and bandy the numbers about, we have skills shortages, an ageing NHS workforce and external labour market changes – for example, the impact of Brexit on NHS staffing.
    We need an above inflation investment, otherwise we will loose more and more staff.

    We as a unit, I am the clinical Team manager of the DSU, were, at very short notice,
    redeployed to ICU In patient Theatres, Recovery and Covid wards, Im sure you can imagine the stress my staff, including my self were under at that time and since.
    We are demoralised and exhausted, physically and mentally.
    Now we are expected to do more, by working extra hours, to get all those procedures the public have been waiting for, for over a year. We are being emotionally blackmailed and pressured to do overtime and get the waiting lists done, as always for the NHS staff …”more for less”.
    £2000 pay rise for all? Why aren’t we as a Union like others, calling for a 15% pay rise, it is what we deserve after years of nothing but cuts.

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