SDLP South Down MLA Colin McGrath has said the DUP’s refusal to restore the Executive is preventing nurses from receiving a long-overdue pay rise.
Speaking on International Nurses Day, Mr McGrath said it was long past time that nurses pay reflected the level of skill required for the role and the pressure and demands staff are placed under.
Mr McGrath said a key priority for the new Executive should be a minimum 6% pay rise, as previously outlined by the SDLP.
South Down MLA Mr McGrath said:
“The DUP’s refusal to do the right thing and restore the Executive has far-reaching consequences for society here. As a result of their selfish actions we will be unable to take immediate action to address the issues impacting people in our communities, from the cost of living crisis to our huge health service waiting lists that are putting both patients and staff at risk.
“Our nurses have been waiting for some time on a pay rise that reflects the huge contribution they make each and every day. For too long they have been expected to go above and beyond, working extra hours and providing essential care, without receiving a fair wage. If we are truly going to address the health crisis in the North then one of the first things we must do is retain the staff we have and ensure they are working in a safe and productive environment.
“There is no family on this island that has not been touched by the care provided to them and their loved ones by our nurses and other health staff. During the coronavirus pandemic they worked in the most unimaginable situations, with many providing care and comfort to people in their final moments, with family unable to be present. We cannot expect our nurses to carry this burden and go home to houses where they struggle to put food on the table or turn on the heating.
“This International Nurses Day I am calling on the other parties to back the SDLP’s pledge to provide a minimum 6% pay rise for nurses. We simply cannot rebuild our health service without them and I believe that this act of good faith would be an important building block for the huge programme of work ahead to ensure that everyone in the North can access quality healthcare when they need it.”