A union chief has criticised Lichfield’s MP after he suggested nurses were having “a quiet drink” in staff rooms during national lockdowns.
Michael Fabricant made his comments as he sought to defend Boris Johnson following the news that the Prime Minister had been fined for attending a lockdown party.
But the Conservative MP’s words have drawn criticism from the Royal College of Nursing.
In a letter to Mr Fabricant, the organisation’s chief executive Pat Cullen said:
“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 the pandemic response. Despite political narrative, as health care professionals we know that the Covid-19 context is nowhere near over.
“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 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 are long, unrelenting, understaffed and intense. At the end of one of the many hours, days and years we have work since recognition of the pandemic, I can assure you hat now 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.”Pat Cullen, Royal College of Nursing
The Royal College of Nursing’s chief executive said actions of health workers should not be used to justify rule breaking by politicians.
“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.”Pat Cullen, Royal College of Nursing