The appalling greed and selfishness of some is almost unbelievable.
At a time when hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs, many thousands more may yet do so and more than 120,000 have lost their lives, health service unions have decided to whinge about their pay. Notwithstanding that there will be no pay rise this year for the police, fire service, local council workers and many others, the representatives of some of the highest paid in our society are demanding yet more.
The doctors' union, the British Medical Association, none of whose members can be considered poor while many are simply very wealthy, wants more. The Royal College of Nursing, another trade union despite its fancy name, wants more and yet its members already have average pay in the region of £34,000, well in excess of the national average for all employees. If anyone has a genuine gripe it may be the members of Unison, the union which represents the lower paid echelons of NHS staff, though even here can they really demand money with menaces in the face of the death and mayhem wrought by the COVID-19 epidemic ?
Doctors, nurses and the rest have chosen their careers for an assortment of reasons, pay no doubt being one of them though very unlikely to have been the driving force. That workers in these professions have been put under pressure by recent events is undeniable, but so has the rest of society. When those who work in the health care sector sign on, do they expect to have it easy ? Do they expect it to be a simple 9 to 5 job with no problems ? If they do, they are deluded.
People who need hospital care are sick or injured; some will be very sick or very badly injured, some will need very intensive care and many will die. While COVID-19 has brought about a high level of illness in a short period of time, hospitals have actually had many fewer other patients to deal with due to the various protective measures put in place. Overall, the volume of patients being cared for, and the pressure on staff, has surely been no greater, and maybe even less, than is usual.
Doctors nurses and the other health sector workers chose their careers and are rewarded for their work, some very greatly so. They are not some special breed, indeed most are average contributors while some are very good and an equal number are pretty poor. It is time that the national obsession with the NHS was ended and for people to realise that those who work in it are simply doing jobs that they chose to do for whatever reasons they may have had at the time of joining. They are not Gods, they are workers like the rest of us.
It is also time for the unions that represent these workers to wind their necks in at a time of national crisis, not to be threatening strike action over unsustainable demands for yet more money from an already grossly over-stretched public purse. After all, who will ultimately be picking up the bill but the rest of us who have no pay rise, no job and yet are faced with higher and higher taxes at every turn.