HOW has it come to this?
Not long ago, in the thick of Covid, we were out on our doorsteps, banging saucepans and clapping for all we were worth to thank our frontline heroes for risking their lives to save others.
5It’s all too easy to forget the importance of their extraordinary skill until it’s the one thing keeping you or a loved one going through tough timesCredit: PA5Only when you see them in action can you truly appreciate the selfless dedication their job demandsCredit: GettyFast forward 30 months and an estimated 100,000 nurses this week swapped the ward for the picket line to join their first ever strike in the 74-year history of the NHS.
After giving their all in the pandemic, they clearly feel betrayed, and I’m not surprised.
It’s all too easy to forget the importance of their extraordinary skill until it’s the one thing keeping you or a loved one going through tough times.
Only when you see them in action can you truly appreciate the selfless dedication their job demands.
And, sadly, I speak from personal experience.
As I write, my dad is in a high- dependency ward at St Bart’s Hospital in London after the pacemaker he had implanted more than 20 years ago became infected, making him very sick.
It had to be removed and now his doctors are waiting for the infection to pass before fitting a replacement.
Throughout this ordeal, the nurses on his ward have been there 24/7, caring for him, monitoring his progress, taking the time to do all the little things that help to make him comfortable until he is healthy enough to come home.
Obviously, I hope that is very soon.
In the meantime, my gratitude towards the angels keeping him going is immense.
And I have seen no change in his care this week, because St Barts nurses have decided not to take industrial action.
But while staff in different hospitals have made different decisions about striking, I’m certain they are all in total agreement that the Government’s 4.3 per cent pay offer isn’t only insulting, but actually damaging to the NHS.
Yes, the nurses’ demand for a 19 per cent pay rise is unrealistic.
We know the health service is already under massive financial pressure, buckling under a huge post-Covid backlog.
But the nurses are unlikely to hold out for that whopping pay rise.
All they want is someone in power to listen — and treat them with respect.
In Scotland, the Government managed to nip the threat of NHS strike action in the bud with a sensible offer of between 7.5 and 11 per cent.
We’re not dealing with Mick Lynch’s RMT here, whose members already rake in an average £44,000 a year — 25 per cent more than the average nurse.
This week we’ve seen heartbreaking stories of NHS staff surviving on patients’ leftovers, but I’ve yet to hear about rail workers wolfing down passengers’ leftover kebabs.
Support for the RMT’s industrial action is already said to be melting away, while the public is getting behind the nurses.
The fact is that ALL of us are feeling the pinch as inflation hovers around the ten per cent mark, thanks to the extra fuel costs caused by Putin’s war.
But, inviting as it sounds, not all of us can have a pay rise that wipes out those extra costs.
That would just fuel even worse inflation and force the Government to raise taxes, creating a cycle of misery.
The NHS is a special case, though, and Rishi Sunak would do well to recognise that.
It’s not just beloved, it’s practically overtaken Christianity as our national religion.
How lucky we are to know it is there, free to all at the point of delivery.
But the desperately low morale of the people we rely on to prop it up is endangering its very existence.
Disillusioned nurses are leaving in droves.
Meanwhile, our health trusts shell out an estimated £3billion a year on agency staff because they can’t make the job attractive enough to fill the NHS’s 39,000 nursing vacancies.
If the NHS paid nurses better, it should be able to recruit more staff, creating a happier, more efficient workforce and a chance of making a dent in those waiting lists.
As I sat by my dad’s hospital bed this week, I thought about the old saying that your health is your wealth.
It often takes a crisis for us to appreciate the truth of those words, and their implied meaning, that without health, wealth is nothing.
So think on it, Rishi.
Without the wealth of the nurses’ goodwill, our health service could soon be nothing too.
It’s a brave PM who would risk that.
Ice kids tragic
I HAVE found it unbearable to read about the children who died after falling into an icy lake near Solihull.
What could be more fun and more natural than children wanting to play in the snow when it falls?
Aged just six, eight, ten and 11, with their whole lives ahead of them, this truly is a tragedy.
My heart goes out to their families.
Victim was so brave
IT was so brave of Georgia Harrison to speak out about the hell she was put through by her ex-boyfriend.
The former Towie star was secretly filmed having sex with Stephen Bear, who went on to make cash out of the tape on X-rated website OnlyFans.
5It is so brave of Georgia to speak up and take action after the conclusion of the trial against Stephen BearCredit: Darren FletcherBear was found guilty of disclosing private sexual photos and faces a jail sentence.
Speaking about the ordeal on Good Morning Britain, she said how “hurt and humiliated” she felt – which must be an understatement.
To learn that the man you have trusted has used secret and deeply private footage of you to make money is the ultimate act of betrayal.
And all too often it is the victim of a crime like this who is left burdened by shame and regret.
It is so brave of Georgia to speak up and take action.
I hope he gets a long sentence and it acts as a deterrent to others.
Bye spy, Henry
POOR old Henry Cavill, fired before he was even hired.
Having been told he was coming back as Superman and his return teased in a cameo, they then decided to go for someone younger and his services were no longer required.
5Fingers crossed Henry is now free to do BondCredit: GettyWas he bitter?
No, he insisted, adding: “This news isn’t the easiest, but that’s life . . . (studio bosses) James and Peter have a universe to build . . . I wish them and all involved with the new universe the best of luck, and happiest of fortunes.”
What a generous and gracious response.
Fingers crossed he is now free to do Bond.
£90k is a slap in face
COULD it really be true that in 2022 a woman has to endure being slapped on the backside with a ruler at work?
I honestly had to read the story twice to make sure we hadn’t suddenly been transported through a time warp back to the 1980s.
The Northern Irish woman received a £90,000 payout following the incident, which took place during a meeting in a coffee shop.
According to the statement, the woman was told to stand up and turn around, only to be slapped on the bottom with a ruler by a male manager in front of another.
The one who slapped her laughed and said: “I’m sorry, I had to.”
Her employer, if you can believe this to be true, claimed she had “dressed and behaved provocatively”.
In other words, it was her fault.
She made him do it, you see?
I’m pleased to hear that the woman has had a payout – but £90,000 doesn’t feel like enough.
She felt so humiliated and embarrassed by the incident that she couldn’t bring herself to tell anyone.
I am truly so sorry that she had to go through this experience.
Women should not have to put up with this retrograde sexist nonsense.
This is 2022, for goodness sake.
Margot looks so goodie in stylish hoodie
DIDN’T Margot Robbie look stunning on the red carpet for the premiere of her film Babylon?
The Aussie actress wore this show-stopping hooded black cut-out dress with an elegant fur-trimmed drape for the event, showing off her incredible figure.
5The Aussie actress wore this show-stopping hooded black cut-out dress with an elegant fur-trimmed drapeCredit: GettyShe paired it with a single chunky gold bracelet and black triangles painted on her nails.
Luckily, the event was held in LA rather than London, otherwise she would have frozen more than her tootsies off.
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk