Now then, being a student nurse in the UK in the midst of a Pandemic that has so far claimed in excess of 60 K lives. Quite a situation to imagine. Becoming a qualified and competent nurse takes years. During that time student nurses learn to encounter stuff on a daily basis that you or I can only struggle to imagine. They are not well paid for it. It is actually a miserable pittance. For anyone to come forward and sign on for such a thing is of the highest order. They immediately warrant our deepest gratitude. There is no question that without a steady stream of such super altruistic youngsters we would all very quickly arrive in a terrible mess. A potentially fatal one. Over the last few years I have spent months in more than one teaching hospital. It is not an exaggeration for me to say that without the input of medical students I would more than likely be pushing up the daisies. I can clearly picture that occasion when three senior clinicians stood round the foot of my bed and told me in quiet tones that if I gave up I would not be leaving The Northern General Hospital alive. Gets your attention that does.
Nurses and general NHS staff have been a hot topic just lately. Every two minutes Tory ministers have stared into the camera lens and opined about how fantastic they all are. This they have said with furrowed brows and a resolute tone. Alok Sharma springs to mind, Hancock is beyond reasonable description, as you all know, our Tory Govt has NEVER missed a chance to penny pinch when it actually comes to rewarding them. The extreme right wing Govt keeps on denying that the NHS will be American property soon, we all know better, every time a Tory says otherwise they are again proving to us how profoundly untrustworthy they really are, along side which we also know that the negotiating team we have - it includes Truss- is deeply out of its depth. Good eh?
So, all those fine young people who raised their hands and embarked upon a hopefully long and rewarding medical career. Good for them. Long road ahead, much to absorb, difficult times to be had, character forming in the most difficult of circumstances. It has been revealed to me that these particular fine young people develop a brutally funny sense of humour along the way, and I have always found them to be bright and enthusiastic. Watching them party is like a fast forward documentary filmed in a human zoo- lets not go there eh?
Then along comes a Pandemic that so far has claimed over 60K lives in the UK. An unimaginable scenario is unfolding in stark terms all around us. Absolute panic at all levels sets in. The UK is caught short in horrific ways. Not nearly enough Ventilators, acute shortage of staff, beds, places to house the beds, PPE that is not fit for purpose, at every turn the UK is exposed as operating on a shoestring basis. The people keep dying.
Drastic measures are called for. All this was actually predicted when the UK undertook an exercise to illustrate our preparedness. Exercise Cygnus it was called. It made many sensible and urgent suggestions. They were all ignored, shut down, buried.
So, push came to the harshest of shoves and appeals were made to retired NHS staff to come back and pitch in. Many did. Some died. The Govt made moves to block the payment of Death in Service Grant to returnees. Another notable stroke they pulled was to line the pockets of a small T shirt company owner in Turkey. This they did when trying to paper over the unforgivable PPE situation. Millions of tests that were not fit for purpose were hurriedly purchased. Maybe the jewel in the crown of stupidity was the Nightingale Sites, utterly useless and massively expensive. A bad joke. Mind you, this is pushed for the star position by this track and trace app fiasco. Seemingly that has cost us over ELEVEN MILLION QUID. Who's head will roll for this?
So, the amount of money wasted is astronomical. The death toll is ever rising. We see on our screens pictures of NHS staff who have DIED in the line of duty. Horror stories emerge of staff in ICUs being totally wiped out at the end of 12 hour shifts. Literally standing there with deep gouges in their faces from wearing masks for such long periods in hot conditions whilst actively saving lives against the odds.
An appeal is issued to medical students to pitch in. Many do. So young and so very very scared, yet so enthusiastic to be a part of the effort. The appeal was worded in such a way as to lead these youngsters to believe that they would be advancing their careers, gaining valuable experience and being paid into the bargain. It was actually a very straight forward concept. There really was no reason to suppose that at some later stage a magnifying glass would be taken to the finer details and hairs would be split to in any way short change these volunteers. That is exactly what has happened. It staggers me that we now have students who are being basically turfed out on their ear.
Before anyone starts trying to defend those who made the above mentioned huge and massively expensive gaffes, I say to you this, every single one of those medical students should be receiving official recognition of their selfless approach, should be held up to the nation as examples of all that is good about the adults of tomorrow. Not one of them should be in a position where they have to go forth under a cloud of student debt.
I will never accept the concept of young people having to fork out to further themselves.
As if all of this isn't bad enough, a particularly brainless and loathsome Tory by the name of Helen Olivia Bicknell Whately crops up. This individual has come out with quite a few outrageous things on the box. If she is being interviewed live be sure to pay attention, she really is completely round the bend. Anyway, she has just gone into print including the little known fact that student nurses "are not providing a service" Beat that ! I have no idea what Whately is good at (?) but it sure as hell isn't industrial relations, but then again, which Tory is ? So, they do not provide a service, odd that, I remember them fetching stuff, fussing around in that mother hen way, always being attentive and eager to assist, just generally being a part of the team. A fair question at this point seems to be what exactly are they providing then ?
One thing they have graphically provided us with is an illustration of the actual properties of a Tory soul. It contains nothing but self interest and money lust.
I have no information re the numbers of patients who have benefited from the attentions of a medical student thus far in the Pandemic, nor how many of those students became ill. I also have no information re how many of them will now chuck it as a result of this callous behaviour. Some information I can pass on to you, the Tories do not care, about the medical students, about the transforming of old folks homes to death camps, about all that money wasted on hair brained schemes, about scientific advice, about pans being banged on doorsteps, about the opinions of you and me.
All they care about is themselves and their bank accounts. So, as for all those volunteer medical students it's simple "Thanks nurse, the foodbank is the second on the Left".
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Society not Economy.