Joyce Still, Unite delegate and PPC for Stafford has worked in the National Health Service her entire life. Here we speak to Joyce about the workforce crisis in the NHS.
“The NHS was and is the jewel in the crown. We were proud that it was set up by the 1945 Labour Government and we remain proud to this day,” she says.
As a nurse, a midwife and now a health visitor Joyce has the first-hand experience of working on the front line. And when she says that the NHS staffing crisis is not a mistake and that it has been manufactured by this pernicious Tory government, a government that seems hell-bent on destroying it she knows what she is talking about.
Joyce knows what the staffing crisis look like on the ground. She knows what it looks like to health visitors, school nurses and community staff wading through paperwork on their evenings and weekends. What it looks like for paramedics and ambulance staff working night and day and far beyond their contractual hours.
And she knows that it looks like A&E and other hospital staff working beyond their endurance – facing pressure like never before as patient wait in ever longer queues. And the consequence of this is that sickness levels are rising, with thousands of staff suffering work-related stress.
She adds, “It didn’t look like this decades ago, nursing in the NHS were attractive career but now people are queuing up to leave due to the strain we are all under.”
It’s a truism that the NHS is not safe in the hands of the Tories. We can now add another danger to this – in Boris Johnson’s hell bent recklessness to leave the EU with or without a deal the NHS is being placed at the mercy of American big pharmaceuticals and health insurance companies.
It doesn’t have to be this way as Joyce has said but only if we have a Labour Government with Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister.