By Lucette Davies

The Eastbourne public need to run everything Caroline Ansell says through a fact checker.

Our campaign group has contacted her recently regarding NHS pay and received very misleading replies.

Right now, we are aware that political parties are clearly using the NHS as a campaign tool. They know we care about our NHS. It is an election winner which is open to abuse.

Caroline responded to an email regarding the recent 1% pay offer by saying a nurse at the bottom of their pay scale in 2018 has received a pay rise of 12%.

But that does not mean starting pay for nurses has increased by 12% in the last three years.

A nurse’s pay increases according to the number of years worked. And pay also needs to be measured in real terms which takes into account inflation.

So, although Caroline makes it sound like our nurses are being treated well the truth is that the starting salary for a nurse has risen by just 6.7% in the last three years. Before that it had fallen by 3.2% since 2010. Both these figures are the real term pay increases.

Nursing is a vocation, and it is not an attractive salary that draws people to work for the NHS. But right now, nurses and other healthcare professionals are working phenomenal hours.

They have student loans to repay have to pay to park their cars when they work. Our Government is taking advantage of their commitment to caring and reluctance to take industrial action.

Many NHS workers will shy away from becoming involved with our campaign.

They are bullied into thinking they may lose their jobs if they speak out. So, we want to speak for them. We are appealing to NHS and care staff to start speaking to our campaign in confidence.

We pledge to you that nothing we say or do will reveal who has spoken to us. Because unless somebody can fight for NHS and care staff to be treated decently more and more will leave the profession and those remaining will be expected to cover for them. Please email to start talking to our campaign.

Other misleading information from the political parties relative to the NHS has come from the Lib Dems in Eastbourne. Their flyers talk about the funding shortfall that our Trust is now facing.

We agree 100% that our NHS is being defunded and has been since 2010. But it is utterly misleading to suggest that increasing the funding of our NHS would even be worth bothering with unless we change the structure of the service.

With increasing privatisation of our NHS, we will find that increasing the funding of the service does little to improve care. It will simply make some people richer. A quick look at America and you will see that extra money going into their healthcare service actually decreases the level of healthcare offered. We all need to be very afraid of the proposal for another top-down reorganisation of the NHS that could be a final nail in the coffin of the service.

We all, as members of the public must start to speak up and demand better.

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