A nurse who cared for Boris Johnson when he was seriously ill with Covid-19 has resigned, citing the government’s 1% wage offer and lack of respect for the profession.
Jenny McGee, who was attending to the Prime Minister in intensive care at St. Thomas’ Hospital in central London, shared how she found the Prime Minister when she came to work in April 2020.
She told a Channel 4 documentary, “There were many, many sick patients all around him, some of whom were dying.
“I remember seeing him and thinking that he looked very, very uncomfortable.
“It was really a different color.
“It’s so surreal, this is the prime minister. They are very complicated patients to deal with and we just didn’t know what was going to happen.”
Nurse Jenny McGee. Photo: Victoria Jones / PA Wire
In the documentary The Year Britain Stopped, due to air on May 24th, she said that when she looks back on her time with Mr. Johnson, she thinks it was a “strange” time.
Ms. McGee, who is originally from New Zealand, said she was asked last July to attend a garden party on Downing Street for a “clapping for carers” event.
She and another nurse had been invited by the Prime Minister to celebrate 72 years of the NHS.
Upon his discharge from the hospital, Mr. Johnson had praised Ms. McGee and nurse Luis Pitarma, saying, “The reason my body got enough oxygen was because they watched every second of the night.”
Ms. McGee said of the request to attend the gossip event, “It would have been a really good photo opportunity.
“You know, kind of like Boris and his NHS friends, but I wanted to stay out of that.
“Many nurses felt that the government had not been very effective in managing the indecision, so many mixed messages.
“It was just very annoying.
“Yeah, we sat on the line and we worked so incredibly hard and there is a lot of talk about how we are all heroes and all of those things.
“But at the same time, I’m just not sure I can do it.
“I don’t know how much I have to give to the NHS.
“We don’t get the respect and now we pay what we deserve.
“I’m just sick of it.
Ms. McGee spoke about her experience with the NHS during Covid in a Channel 4 documentary
“So I submitted my resignation.”
Later in the documentary, Ms. McGee described working at the hospital in the run-up to the holiday season.
“Before Christmas I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing, it was just a covid cesspool,” she said.
“And then a whole bunch of new patients come in. It was an absolute show, to be honest.
“At this point, I don’t know how to describe the horror of what we went through.”
In a statement released Tuesday through the NHS Foundation Trust by Guy and St. Thomas, Ms. McGee said: “After the toughest year of my nursing career, I am taking a step back from the NHS but hope to return in the future.
“I look forward to starting a care contract in the Caribbean before heading home to New Zealand later in the year.
“I’m so proud to have worked at St. Thomas’ Hospital and to be part of such a fantastic team.”
A spokesman # 10 said, “Our NHS workers have done everything over the past year and this government will do everything in our power to support them.”
“We are very grateful for the care NHS staff has provided, especially during the pandemic.
“Because of this, due to the difficult economic situation caused by the pandemic, they have been exempted from the general public sector wage freeze.
“At the same time, we have invested £ 30 million in mental health support for our employees and are adding to the number of places available to domestic students in medical schools in England to further expand our workforce.”
Union leader Sir Keir Starmer said Ms. McGee’s decision was a “devastating charge against Boris Johnson’s approach to the people who risk their lives for him and our whole country”.
Pat Cullen, Acting Secretary-General and General Manager of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “There are tens of thousands of vacancies in nursing and we continue to warn against leaving the profession if the government does not demonstrate its respect by providing nurses a fair wage increase for the skilled work they do. ”
Unison health chief Sara Gorton said: “Many senior NHS workers could quit if the prime minister sees no point in the pay.
“The Scottish Government has found the money to make a decent climb up their health workforce.
“It is high time NHS workers in the rest of the UK got the boost they deserve.”