A NURSE who is taking part in an NHS protest today says a pay rise for healthcare workers is “long overdue”.

Kelly Robbins has worked in nursing for the past ten years.

The 31-year-old from Brighton is joining thousands of NHS workers who are demonstrating across the country today as part of a campaign for a 15 per cent pay increase.


Kelly has organised the Brighton protest and NHS staff will meet at the Royal Sussex County Hospital at 11am and march to The Level, where there will be speeches from healthcare workers and union members.

Kelly, who currently works as a nurse at a GP surgery, said: “I don’t think a lot of the public know but NHS staff haven’t had a genuine pay rise in ten years.

“What we’ve actually had is seven years of pay freezes, a one year pay cap at one per cent and then a three year pay deal at 1.7 per cent per year, which was way below inflation –so we’ve effectively had a 20 per cent pay cut in the last ten years.

“This means the average staff nurse is now over £5,000 worse off than they were in 2010.


“Being a nurse means going in to work every day making decisions that could effectively save or take someone’s life.

“With such a huge responsibility that sits on our shoulders, you would think that it would be no question to pay us a fair wage.”

Last month, the Government announced an above-inflation pay rise for public sector workers, including teachers and doctors, but nurses were not included.

Kelly said one of the biggest challenges for the NHS is staff retention, which she believes is due to low pay.

She said: “Currently we have 100,000 staff vacancies within the NHS and 50,000 of those are nurses.

“We also have higher student drop out rates from universities so we are looking at not gaining many newly qualified nurses to fill the gap.

“Plus we have nurses and other colleagues saying they are now seriously considering leaving the profession or going to another country, which is very concerning given we are being told there is a high risk of a second wave of Covid-19.

“We can’t afford to have any more staff leaving at this time.”

Kelly added that the display of appreciation for NHS staff through Clap for Carers was “a great public gesture” but “that support and pride now needs to be converted into policy”.