On Thursday 10 June, North Central RCN London branches hosted a listening session with members and local MPs from North London. All MPs from across North Central London were invited to attend.
Over 35 members met with 6 local MPs: Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn; Emily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury; Catherine West, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green; Bambos Charalambous, MP for Enfield, Southgate; Kate Osamar, MP for Parliament for Edmonton; Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North and a representative from the office of Feryal Clark, MP for Enfield North.
Members shared harrowing experiences of what life was like working on the frontline during COVID-19. A lack of personal protective equipment, being (re)deployed, a sense of feeling “locked-in” and feeling “burnout” were just some of the experiences staff from North London shared. Many members from the Black, Asian, and minority ethnic community told MPs they felt “unprotected” while working on COVID-19 wards while others spoke about the emotional and mental impact of losing so many of their colleagues.
Members were very clear with MPs that poor pay and unsafe staffing levels are pushing people out of the profession they love at a rapid pace, and that this is compromising the care Londoners receive. On behalf of the MPs, Catherine West told members that her party is fully committed to fair pay for nursing staff.
Cis Anim CBE, Chair of the Inner North Central London RCN branch, and co-chair of the session, said:
“Our discussion was open, honest, and at times very hard to listen to. I hope it gave MPs real insight into what we’re facing every day and helps them understand how vulnerable our profession is right now. While it was great that some of North London’s MP joined us, we’re very disappointed others chose not to. Nursing staff need to have the opportunity to tell MPs what it's like on the ground at the moment. For too long, we’ve been ignored but I’m so proud our members are taking a stand”.
This is the fifth local MP listening event RCN London has set up. Would your branch be interested in telling your story to your local MPs? RCN London can help make it happen, get in touch with John to have a chat, and get the ball rolling.