Nurses vote overwhelmingly to strike for first time ever over 1% pay rises More than 50,000 of the Royal College of Nursing’s 270,000 members took part in the poll

Don’t say that NHSreality has not warned you. It’s going to get worse, civil unrest is a real possibility as the safety net becomes obviously holed to all. The profession has seen this coming, but not the one eyed successive ministers of health. NHSreality says pay up or the last chance saloon will close..

Alan Jones in the sunday Independent 14th September 2017 reports: Nurses vote overwhelmingly to strike for first time ever over 1% pay rises

More than 50,000 of the Royal College of Nursing’s 270,000 members took part in the poll

….More than 50,000 of the RCN’s 270,000 members took part in the poll. Another ballot would have to be held before any action takes place.

Opinion by Ally Jamah : Nursesstrike a stinging indictment on politicians The Evening Standard today 15th September

That the health crisis resulting from a national strike by nurses has dragged on for several months is yet another clear and depressing indication of indifference among the country’s political and bureaucratic class to the welfare of ordinary Kenyans.

Since June 5, millions of Kenyans have been unable to access basic and crucial health services in public facilities across the country due to a dispute between nurses and various government agencies over the signing of a collective bargaining agreement.

Critical health services including antenatal, postnatal, outpatient care and vaccination are no longer available to Kenyans in public hospitals, but politicians and bureaucrats in the national and county governments are still strutting around as if nothing is amiss.

In other countries, this lack of access to healthcare by the majority of the population would have been treated as an emergency or a crisis, but in Kenya it is business as usual.

Despite the rhetoric, the political class, which enjoys public-funded generous health insurance covers allowing them access to high-end private facilities both locally and abroad, does not appreciate the suffering that many Kenyans are going through.

The Council of Governors has even advertised some of the nurses’ positions, seeking to replace them through one-year contract terms.

The claim that the money demanded by nurses as salaries and allowances (estimated to be Sh10 billion per year) is too much may not be convincing if one considers the intolerable amounts of money lost in Government through waste and outright graft.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission has also reportedly vetoed some agreements between nurses and county governments, worsening the crisis.

The media on the other hand continues to highlight the healthcare crisis but not adequately enough to push the political class to action to resolve the matter. One of the main TV stations, KTN News, aptly dubbed the strike ‘The Forgotten Strike’ in a recent report.

ELECTION SEASON

In this election season, the media has understandably focused on politics but the healthcare crisis deserves a big spot in the headlines because of the suffering many are facing.

Similarly, Kenyans who should be united and at the forefront of demanding from politicians a quick resolution of the strike to ease their suffering have unfortunately been distracted by the electioneering fervour.

The strike comes barely months after another one last December that was called off after nurses were lured back to work with promises of the signing of a CBA. And instead of putting heads together to resolve the strike, everyone is busy shifting the blame. This demonstrates the nonchalant attitude in managing the country’s health sector.
Reports indicate that many Kenyans who cannot afford private healthcare are resorting to self-medication at home, while others, especially in border counties, are crossing the Kenyan border for healthcare.
The number of Kenyans who may have died as a result of the unresolved strike has not been documented.
It is well known that nurses are the backbone of the healthcare sector in Kenya and without them, services are effectively paralysed even when the other cadres of health workers are available.
That’s why the resolution of the strike needs more urgent attention and political will. Kenyans are tired of the excuses and buck-passing by politicians and bureaucrats.

On the contrary, the majority of the population relies heavily on public health facilities because they cannot afford healthcare in private facilities.

LARGELY IGNORED

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto as well as Opposition leaders have largely ignored the issue and instead focused on political campaigns with their eyes on top public offices. The same attitude is displayed by county leaders.

It is amazing that the absence of healthcare in public hospitals has not featured in the campaigns of the main political blocs as one would ordinarily expect; the matter is being ignored as if it doesn’t exist.

The few public statements by politicians and Government bureaucrats have so far been limited to issuing threats to sack the nurses or urging them to return to work without offering solutions to the sticking points that precipitated the strike in the first place.

 

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This entry was posted in A Personal View, Nurses, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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