The nurse who helped care for Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, during his stay in ICU with coronavirus is no longer working for the NHS. Nurse Jenny McGee's resignation comes at an especially poignant time, as the government have just offered a paltry 1% pay rise for frontline workers.
Naturally, this incredibly small amount is being contested by NHS workers and members of the public alike, who all feel that the (quite literally) life-saving work that healthcare workers do, day in and day out, deserves far greater recognition from those in charge of the purse strings.
McGee, when speaking about the way nurses have been treated by the government and about the low offer of a salary increase, described it as a "kick in the teeth".
"We’re not getting the respect and now pay that we deserve. I’m just sick of it. So I’ve handed in my resignation," McGee, who is originally from New Zealand, said during a Channel 4 documentary, The Year Britain Stopped (which is due to air 24 May). "Lots of nurses felt that the government hadn’t led very effectively – the indecisiveness, so many mixed messages. It was just very upsetting."
Speaking about her experience of caring for the PM, McGee added, "All around him there were lots and lots of sick patients, some of whom were dying. I remember seeing [Boris] and thinking he looked very, very unwell – he was a different colour really."
Following his release from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust last April, Johnson thanked healthcare workers for the treatment he had received, "I can’t thank them [the staff] enough. I owe them my life."
The PM added, "The reason in the end my body did start to get enough oxygen was because for every second of the night, they were watching."
Three months later, Johnson invited McGee and another staff member along to a garden party, where they were asked to join in with a 'Clap For Carers' round of applause. McGee suggested it would have been a good 'photo opportunity' for Johnson.
"It would have been a really good photo opportunity... You know, kind of like 'Boris and his NHS friends', but I wanted to stay out of it," she said.
"We have put ourselves on the line and we have worked so incredibly hard, and there’s a lot of talk about how we’re all heroes and all that sort of stuff," McGee continued. "But at the same time, I’m just not sure if I can do it [any more]. I don’t know how much more I’ve got to give to the NHS."
During her recent acceptance speech at the BRIT Awards, singer Dua Lipa also rallied the government to reward the hard work of NHS staff with an appropriate pay rise.
Here's hoping Boris and co. rethink (and increase) their NHS wage offer...
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