A decade of real-terms pay cuts and a cost of living crisis is forcing hard-working families to make difficult choices.
A quarter of nurses and healthcare workers have essentially “cancelled Christmas” over money worries.
New research conducted by Florence found that a quarter (25%) of healthcare professionals won’t be celebrating Christmas at all this year.
Nearly half (42%) say they won’t be celebrating as big of a Christmas as previous years.
In addition to this, half (50%) say they are turning to credit cards to cover payments, while almost two-fifths (38%) are relying on their overdraft to get them through the winter and help pay for Christmas.
Speaking about strike action, RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive, Pat Cullen, explained, “Ministers have had more than two weeks since we confirmed that our members felt such injustice that they would strike for the first time.
“My offer of formal negotiations was declined and instead ministers have chosen strike action. They have the power and the means to stop this by opening serious talks that address our dispute.
“Nursing staff have had enough of being taken for granted, enough of low pay and unsafe staffing levels, enough of not being able to give our patients the care they deserve.”
Making impossible decisions.
Commenting on their findings, Florence calls for more support for health and social care workers.
Chief Nurse Fiona Millington adds, “The government hailed nurses & healthcare workers during the pandemic but where is that support now? The reality is that nurses and healthcare assistants are cancelling Christmas because they can’t afford to celebrate.
“It is shocking, even more so after the sacrifices they have made over the past few years so that we could celebrate together again. Nurses and carers are making impossible decisions, ‘Do I have something to eat that’s hot? Do I risk having to use gas to heat this up?’.
Ms Millington goes on to call for a pay rise for NHS workers, adding, “The cost of living has risen at an alarming rate, but salaries are not increasing to match that cost of living.”