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'Warm words and applause don't pay bills' - MPs visit nurses picket line

Caroline Lucas and Lloyd Russell-Moyle at the picket line in Brighton <i>(Image: Caroline Lucas | Simon Dack)</i>
Caroline Lucas and Lloyd Russell-Moyle at the picket line in Brighton (Image: Caroline Lucas | Simon Dack)

Politicians have been seen supporting NHS staff after visiting picket lines of striking workers.

Brighton MPs Caroline Lucas and Lloyd Russell-Moyle have been speaking to workers who have taken industrial action to pile pressure on the government.

The MPs have been supporting the workers as they protest about patient safety and health sector pay freezes, with Ms Lucas calling nurses struggling to pay for food “a scandal”.

The Green MP for Brighton Pavilion said: “It was so powerful hearing from nurses on the picket line in Brighton this morning.

The Argus: Caroline Lucas on the picket line at the Royal Sussex County Hospital
The Argus: Caroline Lucas on the picket line at the Royal Sussex County Hospital

Caroline Lucas on the picket line at the Royal Sussex County Hospital (Image: Matt Traini)

"Conditions in the NHS are simply not sustainable, for staff or patients, with critical staffing shortages putting the future of the NHS at risk.

"Many of the nurses are exhausted, working extra shifts to make ends meet with some in Brighton describing working in the NHS 'like being in a war zone'.

"Last year 14 per cent of nurses used food banks, while 30 per cent struggled to pay for food. That is a scandal.

"Government ministers often spoke of healthcare workers’ heroism throughout the peak of the pandemic, but warm words and applause don’t pay bills.

"With Green Party colleagues, I am demanding fair and decent pay for NHS workers, long-term investment, a staff recruitment and retention plan, and for the NHS to remain in public hands.”

Ms Lucas spoke to striking nurses as well as holding a banner in support of the NHS staff outside of the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Kemptown, was also seen at the picket speaking to workers out on strike on Monday, February 6.

Mr Russell-Moyle was also previously seen on a march from the hospital to The Level organised by Sussex Defend the NHS.

The latest strikes by the Royal College of Nursing and the GMB Union, have coincided for the first time causing many health sector services to slow.

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Protesters gathered outside the Royal Sussex as well as Worthing Hospital in an effort to force the government to act on the NHS crisis.

Some placards with RCN branding said “staff shortages cost lives” while other homemade signs read “negotiating with the government is harder than buying Taylor Swift tickets”.