NURSES are having to resort to foodbanks and rip-off payday loan sharks to survive as the government’s onslaught on the National Health Service continues, according to new research.
They are also being driven out of the NHS in increasing numbers in search of better-paid jobs, according to research carried out by the nurses’ union the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
It found that more than one in 20 nurses have been forced to take out a payday loan to meet their bills and day-to-day expenses. Payday loan interest rates can be equivalent to 2,000 per cent a year.
One in four nurses have borrowed money from friends, family or their bank, 23 per cent have taken on an additional job, and half did overtime to cover bills and expenses.
The RCN polled 7,720 nurses across Britain.
Over the last year 56 per cent said they have been forced to cut back on food and travel costs, one in five struggled to pay gas and electricity bills, 11 per cent were late on rent or mortgage payments and 2.3 per cent said they had used charities or foodbanks. Two in five nurses said they have lost sleep over money worries.
The RCN also found that 37 per cent are currently seeking a new job, an increase from 24 per cent 10 years ago.
The union said it was “ludicrous” that the NHS is losing staff because they cannot pay their bills on current wages.
The RCN released the poll ahead of next week’s Budget and implored Chancellor Philip Hammond to address the issue of public-sector pay.
RCN activist Danielle Tiplady, who has announced her intention to seek the Labour candidacy in Thurrock, told the Star that the findings should “ring loud and clear for the government.”
“If nurses are having to resort to payday loan companies who charge 1,000 per cent interest, it should make Tory ministers ashamed.”
RCN chief executive and general secretary Janet Davies said: “It is ludicrous that the health service is losing valuable highly trained staff simply because they can’t pay the bills at the end of the month.
“No wonder the health service is short of 40,000 nurses in England alone.
“The Chancellor must therefore give a clear signal in the Budget next week that the government will award an above-inflation pay rise to hard-pressed nursing staff in the NHS.”