The nurse who cared for Boris Johnson when he became seriously ill with Covid-19 has said that nurses have “had enough”.
Jenny McGee resigned in 2021, citing the Government’s pay offer and its “lack of respect” for the profession.
In a new interview she said nurses feel under “so much pressure… every single shift”.
Ms McGee, who cared for Johnson in intensive care at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London in 2020, said nurses “can’t give the care that we so desperately want to give”.
And she said nurses “just want to be paid a fair wage”.
The interview comes after the first ever national walkout of nurses who are members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
Tens of thousands of nurses joined picket lines across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in support of the RCN’s dispute with the Government over pay.
The intensive care nurse told the Talk TV show Piers Morgan Uncensored: “I think there’s just a real concern for what’s happening in our profession.
“We are terribly, terribly understaffed – we have 50,000 vacancies across this country and we are seeing that on the wards.
“We’re seeing that when we’re working, we do not have enough nurses on our wards.
“We feel that nurses are leaving the profession in droves.
“I think they’re leaving because we’ve had enough, we have so much pressure and responsibilities put on our shoulders. We are busy every single shift.
“We can’t give that care that we so desperately want to give and we feel that we’re underpaid.
“We care very deeply about the patients that we look after but we just want to be paid a fair wage.”
Ms McGee said that a 19% rise would “not be out of the question”, adding: “We have worked so incredibly hard throughout the pandemic and we have proved ourselves time and time again, but we just want something that we can live on that’s in line with inflation.
“We’re not asking for millions. We’re just asking for a fair wage.”
She added: “All we really want to do is give wonderful care to the patients that we’re looking after, that’s what we’re in the profession to do, that’s why we’re nurses.
“We want to look after people, we want to make them better, and when you have all these external things coming in and interfering with that, it’s demoralising. It’s so tough.
“I quit my job a year or two ago because of all those pressures that I had on me. I felt I couldn’t do it anymore here in the UK and I needed a break, and that’s what’s happening to many, many nurses.”