Florence Nightingale achieved lasting admiration for her work as a nurse in the Crimean War of the 1850s. This is the same war that witnessed The Charge of the Light Brigade.
Here, she makes a nationwide appeal for the role of nursing to be given its proper respect and prominence. Kind of like today!
The beginning has been made, the first crusade
has been fought and won, to bring real nursing,
trained nursing to the bedsides of cases wanting
real nursing among the London sick poor, in the
only way in which real nurses can be so brought
to the sick poor, and this by providing a real home within reach of their work for the nurses to live in – a home which gives what real family homes are supposed to give:- materially, a bedroom for each, dining and sitting rooms in common, all meals prepared and eaten in the home; morally, direction, support, sympathy in a common work, further training and instruction in it, proper rest and recreation, and a head of the home, who is also and pre-eminently trained and skilled head of the nursing.
Nursing requires the most undivided attention of
anything I know, and all the health and strength
both of mind and body. The very thing that we
find in these poor sick is that they lose the feeling
of what it is to be clean. The district nurse has
to show them their room clean for once; in other
words, to do it herself; to sweep and dust away,
to empty and wash out all the appalling dirt and
foulness; to air and disinfect; rub the windows,
sweep the fireplace, carry out and shake the bits
of old sacking and carpet, and lay them down
again; fetch fresh water and fill the kettle; wash
the patient and the children, and make the bed.
Every home she has thus cleaned has always
been kept so. She found it a pigsty, she left it a
tidy, airy room.
The present Association wants to foster the spirit
of work (not relief) in the district nurse, and for her to foster the same in her sick poor.
If a hospital must first of all be a place which shall do the sick no harm, how much more must the sick poor’s room be made a place not to render impossible recovery from the sickness which it has probably bred? This is what the London District Nurses do; they nurse the room as well as the patient, and teach the family to nurse the room. Hospitals are but an intermediate stage of civilization. At present, hospitals are the only place where the sick poor can be nursed, or, indeed, often the sick rich. But the ultimate object is to nurse all sick at home.
The district nurse costs money, and the district
homes cost money. Each district nurse must
have, before she is qualified:
- a month’s trial in district work;
2. a year’s training in hospital nursing;
3. three months’ training in district nursing, under
For anything like a “National,” or even a “Metropolitan” concern, a capital of £20,000 and an income of £5,000 a year are wanted. Of this
a great part is wanted at once, to set on foot three district homes; to pay and maintain their superintendents, nurses, and probationers; to create a hospital training school in which to train.
What has been done at present is to establish one district home under the charge and training of Miss Florence Lees, as Superintendent-General,
with five hospital trained nurses and three nurse candidates, and to carry on the previously existing work of the East London Nursing Society with six nurses.
The Central Home was opened at 23,
Bloomsbury-Square, in December last, the nursing
work having been begun in the neighbourhood
from a temporary abode, in July. The Nightingale
Training School at St Thomas’s Hospital is at
present giving the year’s hospital training to six, to
be increased to 12, admitted candidates.
I ask the public not to add one more charity or
relief agency to the many that are already, but
to support a charity—truly “metropolitan” in its
scope, and truly “national” if carried out—which
never has been before.
A political group called Enough 14 (part of the UK Communist Party) published this open letter to the public on their website on March 31st, 2020.
We TOTALLY respect, appreciate and support all that those in the NHS are doing and putting themselves through, along with millions of other essential workers. But, we have concerns that the Clap For Carers gesture will be seen as a smoke screen for the government’s handling of the current situation.
Whilst it was a way for ordinary people to show their genuine support for care workers, it also takes the spotlight off the state for their pathetic attempts at protecting and supporting essential workers, whilst at the same time shoring up the business sector and donors to their parties. The government’s lack of foresight and mismanagement is nothing short of astounding.
Our care workers need more than a two-minute round of applause – as heart felt as it was from all of us. They need us to support their demands for the tools they need to do the job effectively. They don’t have enough personal protective equipment, resulting in staff are being asked to work in dangerous environments. They don’t have enough staff and it’s absolutely criminal that we ask retired NHS staff to cover when we have known for years we have between 30,000 and 100,000 vacancies in the NHS. NHS staff have been undervalued and under paid for years by successive governments of all colours. The financial crisis was brought about by the financial sector yet public sector workers and the poorest in society were made to pay for it.
NHS staff are crying out for support from the state – support that isn’t coming. We are told more Intensive Care beds are needed; more ventilators; more Personal Protective Equipment; and more testing. Yet staff are still waiting for much of this to be delivered, a lot of which should have been in place already. The private sector is apparently helping but at what cost? Why can’t we commandeer all private hospitals, and NOW? Why does Prince Charles get tested when frontline NHS staff do not? It begs the question, who else is being tested before the NHS staff? Who should be tested first? So much for “we’re all in it together”, we’ve heard this lie before.
Staff are scared that they are returning home to their families and spreading Coronavirus. They need to be protected. We have 1,000’s of empty student accommodation rooms and hotels. Why can’t they use these?
NHS staff are telling us on all social and main stream media that they don’t have the resources. Politicians say they do. Who do you believe? Parasites lie in bad times as well as good.
The crisis is bad at the moment. But when we come through this, we need to build on the support the general public have for public sector workers. Don’t retire to your normal life when the crisis is over. The NHS (and millions of others) need active support. The odd demonstration just isn’t good enough when we can suddenly find billions now to rescue the economy. After this crisis we need to mobilise and force any government to adequately staff the NHS; to have huge resources in place (as people die all the time and can be saved if we put money in the right place); and to pay working class people like health care workers a proper salary.
If we don’t mobilise now, it will be business as usual after this crisis. And that means few benefits for all those people we/you clapped for a minute on Thursday and huge profits for the rich, like Virgin boss Branson and Dysons boss James Dyson who will make a small fortune “helping” produce ventilators.