Nurses react with anger at Tory claim they held after-work lockdown drinks

Nurses react with anger at Tory claim they held after-work lockdown drinks Source: Simon Davis/DFID

A Tory MP claim that teachers and NHS workers also held after-work drinks during the pandemic, has been met with anger by nurses.

Michael Fabricant suggested that teachers and nurses also held “unwinding drinks” saying that he did not blame them for doing so. The MP made the comment in defence of the prime minister who was found guilty of breaking lockdown laws and has been fined.

The Royal College of Nursing’s General Secretary, Pat Cullen wrote to Fabricant and Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden: “While you position yourself with some authority as to the behaviour and actions of nurses during the pandemic, I’d like to inform you of the following facts.

“Throughout the pandemic – and still certainly, now – most days, nurses and nursing support workers, when finally finishing a number of unpaid hours well past shift end, will get home,

“Throughout the early pandemic, this was often alone, for the protection of others – kept away from family, friends and support networks. These shifts – in communities, in hospitals, anywhere people are – are long, unrelenting, understaffed and intense.

“At the end of one of the many hours, days and years we have worked, since recognition of the pandemic, I can assure you that none of us have sought to hang out and ‘have a quiet one in the staff room.’

“There isn’t a site in England that would allow alcohol on the premises for any professional to consume during working hours.

“As frontline professionals, still dealing with the implications of the pandemic – understaffed, underpaid, overworked, exhausted, burnt out and still holding it together while doing the best we can for our patients.

“It is utterly demoralising – and factually incorrect – to hear you suggest that our diligent, safety critical profession, can reasonably be compared to any elected official breaking the law, at any time.”

In writing the letter Cullen said she was unsure how much time the Conservative MP for Lichfield spent on the frontline during the pandemic and wanted to inform him of the facts on behalf of the nursing body’s half a million members. She also reminded him that from a health care perspective the pandemic was not over with Covid-19 still very much in evidence.

Although no formal statement has come from the National Union of Teachers, sources say that they believe the statement is a sign of just how of touch ministers are.

The Tory claim has been met with anger by nurses who were at the frontline of the pandemic and who took the brunt of the strain throughout the lockdown. There was as they have said no time for after-work lockdown drinks.


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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