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In April 2020, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson emotionally thanked on TV the nurses who had saved his life when he was infected with COVID-19 and promised to provide all necessary funds to the public health system as it was on the verge of collapse.
After more than a year, British medical personnel are denouncing empty promises and feeling “betrayed”, while experts warn of the dangers of continued underinvestment.
And nurse Stuart Tackwood recalls that the free British National Health System (NHS), which is appreciated by the British, “was basically in trouble.”
“We were late in the treatment times,” due to the chronic shortage of staff and hospital beds, added this official at the Union of Civil Servants (Unison).
Hospitals and their teams were then forced to deal with the stress and burdened work schedules of many waves of the devastating Covid-19 epidemic that killed 127,000 people in Britain, in the largest number of Corona deaths among European countries.
Tacwood added that “many workers in the National Health System suffer from tremendous physical and mental problems.” Therefore, when “the government said that all it would give (to them) was a one percent increase, they saw this as a great betrayal.”
This small concession provoked anger beyond the circle of those concerned themselves. Leaders of the opposition Labor Party are demanding wage increases for those considered to be major workers, as is pop star Dua Lipa.
When accepting a Brit Awards this week, Boris Johnson called for a “decent raise” for workers.
“The pressure on NHS personnel is unbearable and people are overwhelmed,” said Stuart Tackwood.
A recent study conducted by the British Medical Association on 2,100 medical workers revealed that more than one in five plans to leave the National Health System and change jobs due to a year of stress and stress.
Stuart Tacwood explains that nurses are often considered to be underpaid, but many caregivers or less-skilled employees earn less. Many of them live below the poverty line.
The Nurses Syndicate, “Royal Nurses College,” is demanding an increase of 12.5 percent, while the Union of Unions is calling for an exceptional bonus this year of two thousand pounds for each of them.
Franco Sassi, professor of health policy at Imperial College Business University, is concerned about “a lack of additional structural funding (…) that is greater than the commitment to urgent expenditures resulting from the epidemic.”
In fact, health spending in the United Kingdom was “43% less than in Germany and 15% less than in France before the pandemic,” he said.
In a note published on the university’s website, Sassi added that the number of doctors in the United Kingdom, where the rate is 2.8 per thousand people, is “much lower than the rates in the European Union,” and the number of hospital beds is the second on the list of the lowest level in Europe.
He concluded that if this delay is not corrected, “the national health system will not be able to meet the needs of patients after the epidemic.”
He stressed that more investment would put public finances under greater pressure, but “leaving the national health system to suffer from a lack of funding in this way leads to great risks.”
For its part, the conservative government of Boris Johnson asserts that it has made “record investments during the epidemic and announced additional funding of seven billion pounds (more than eight billion euros) for the national health system and social care designated for Covid-19,” according to a spokesperson for the Health Department.
He added that other civil servants had had their salaries frozen this year, unlike workers in the national health system, who “also benefited from years of wage agreements with unions” and received bonuses represented by raising the salaries of the lowest-paid employees, including workers in the medical sector.
The Institute for Tax Studies, which supports budgetary tightening, is also concerned. In a study published Thursday, he said that “five million people are now waiting for routine treatments in hospital” in Britain, including ten percent for more than a year.
And he stressed that “compensation for lost time will take years and billions of pounds.”
On Thursday, the British government announced the allocation of 160 million pounds (more than 185 million euros) to help accelerate this compensation for lost time after more than a year of the epidemic.
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