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Letter to Michael Fabricant MP on comments made about nursing staff

13 April 2022

Michael Fabricant MP 
House of Commons 

By email:

Dear Mr. Fabricant,

I’m writing on behalf of the half a million members of the Royal College of Nursing, to formally complain about your comments today in media. I’m not sure how often you spend time on the frontline, so I’d like to share with you how the profession of nursing practices ethically, responsibly and in the face of ongoing pressures and constraints. We remain at the forefront of pandemic response. Despite political narrative, as health and care professionals we know the COVID-19 context is nowhere near over. 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, clean their uniforms, shower and collapse into bed. 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.

Pat Cullen, General Secretary & Chief Executive

Page last updated - 13/04/2022