December 5, 2022

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NHS employee forced to walk six miles to work as wages don’t cover travel pass

An NHS employee has said that he is forced to walk six miles every day to the hospital where he works due to the cost of living crisis.

It is because his wages no longer cover his basic costs, such as a travel pass to get to work.

Joe Baldwin, 36 and who is originally from Glasgow, has worked at Aintree Hospital, Liverpool, as a nursing assistant for the last 14 years, North Wales Live reports.

Joe earns £18,500 per year but now the cost of living has increased.

Now his wage no longer covers his basic needs, with Joe forced to move out of his flat and into a cheaper one.

He also joined a food union for access to subsidised food. The nursing assistant was forced to cancel his travel pass, leaving him to walk six miles from his flat to the hospital.

Joe said: “Everything was going up and I had to take out loans to survive. I suddenly found myself having to choose between paying the bills or buying food, and the bills came first. I just feel downtrodden.

“It’s soul-destroying talking to my colleagues. Morale is on the floor in our hospital. Even many of the senior staff, who earn £35,000 are on their knees. I’ve seen them sliding down walls crying their eyes out.

“People are missing shifts and phoning in sick because they can’t afford to pay for nursery costs. I even know people who are changing their will.

“I haven’t told my family back in Glasgow any of this because if they knew it would worry them enormously.”

Liz Collins, a 57-year-old midwife at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, echoed Joe’s experiences.

Liz, who has worked for the NHS for 40 years said: “Not so long ago you would never have dreamed that NHS professionals would be using food banks but I know midwives, nurses and healthcare assistants who are.

“There are probably a couple of hundred across Merseyside and Cheshire. They tell me they feel shame, disgust and anger that they have studied for three years and they’re in this position but they’re being pushed to the limit.”

At least six NHS trusts have launched staff food banks or food voucher schemes to help workers cope with the rising cost of living.

Liz added: “We feel undervalued, underpaid and are working longer hours than we’re contracted to do yet the feeling of not being able to make ends meet is worse than it’s ever been.

“When I started in the 1980s you didn’t hear people complaining all the time about pay. I feel so sorry for single parents who have difficulty in feeding their children and heating their home.”

West Derby MP Ian Byrne is attempting to get a basic Right to Food enshrined in law and said he is also concerned about people in his constituency.

He said: “We’re in the biggest crisis in living memory.

“Two weeks ago I had a phone call from a pensioner who said he had to choose between heating or powering up his wheelchair. And this is the fifth richest country in the world.

“These are choices getting made every day across communities. It’s intolerable, it’s a complete failure of capitalism and it can’t go on.

“I have a quote from Nelson Mandela hanging in my office to inspire me.

It says: ‘Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the action of human beings.’ It’s about time we got on with it.”

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