The Apprentice's Claude Littner has sparked fury on social media after suggesting that nurses struggling to “make ends meet” should get second jobs.
The British-American businessman, who works as an adviser for Sir Alan Sugar on the BBC programme, was criticised for his comments on Twitter.
Littner tweeted there would be “nothing wrong with” NHS staff extending their hours or finding part time work if they are struggling to get by.
Explaining his remark, he said his niece is a nurse and has an online business which also generates income.
No good deed goes unpunished!
I responded to a nurse who stated that she could not make ends meet. I suggested that as a stop gap she might find some part time work to make ends meet. My niece is a nurse & has an online business that generates income.. result torrent of abuse! https://t.co/kSgcQfuo8Q— Claude Littner (@claudelittner)November 12, 2019
But his comments triggered a wave of criticism, with some pointing out that the long hours nurses are already required to work means a second job would be impossible.
One critic replied: “Would you want her to look after a relative of yours when she’d been working a 12 hour shift and then sat at a computer for hours doing more work? I don’t agree with abuse but she’s probably shattered and being told to work harder can’t really help.”
Another wrote: “All depends on the individual situation. A full time nurse? With a family? Trained nurses don't stop learning and often have to do professional development coursework in their spare time. Many nurses work beyond their hours too (unpaid). I speak from experience.”
And another said: “I am paid for 37.5 hours but often work 50 hours +, the NHS rely on people going above and beyond, it would crumble if we all worked to rule.
“I then go home and look after my daughter as a single mum...please tell me where I am supposed to fit a second job in?!”
Littner refused to back down.
In a later post, he wrote: “No good deed goes unpunished! I responded to a nurse who stated that she could not make ends meet. I suggested that as a stop gap she might find some part time work to make ends meet.
“My niece is a nurse & has an online business that generates income.. result torrent of abuse!”
The businessman clarified that it was his view that nurses should be paid more but, in the absence of a pay review, was offering a “common sense” suggestion.
“I am undeterred. My suggestion was pure common sense and I made no adverse comment, just offered a practical solution to a specific question,” he wrote.
“Nurses should be paid more, they are fantastic and do a wonderful job.”