Saturday, May 13, 2006

Guild of Nurses Rally November 1939

Persecutions Drive Nurses to revolt

Daily Mirror 17th November 1939

TRAINED nurses are in revolt. They are leaving their profession in hundreds rather than put up with the petty persecutions, the hardships and injustices they are being made to suffer.

Women whose skilled work is vital to the country in war are going as shop and on to the land.

These allegations were made at a meeting called by the NUCO, Guild of Nurses in London yesterday (16th November 1939) by Mr. Reginald Ruttledge, an official of the NUCO Guild of Nurses.

" When the men have gone to France and they need women bus conductors we shall see nurses doing this work," he said.

The nurses' two main grievances are:

(1) The way in which non-resident trained staff in London County Council hospitals are being forced to become resident with a considerable reduction in salary; and

(2) The growing unemployment among trained nurses which is largely the result of evacuation and is being aggravated by the fact that members of the Auxiliary Nursing Service are replacing trained nurses in the hospitals.

Mr. George Vincent Evans, general secretary of the NUCO, pointed out that a non-resident nurse might be receiving a wage of £180 per annum. When she became resident her wage dropped to £80 or £90, dependent on service.
Reductions lor superannuation also took a further toll

This was causing exceptional hardship among nurses who were having to pay the rents of their flats or were obliged to store their furniture. The London County Council had refused to undertake the responsibility for the storage of furniture or for the payment of rent of flats or rooms.

Mr. Miller, Secretary of the London District Nursing Association, protested against the way in which trained nurses were being re-placed by auxiliary nurses.

" We shall find," he said, " that the trained nurses who are now being Ignored will be called upon to attend the auxiliary nurses who will be suffering from shock." (Laughter.)

Training Stopped

Young probationers' training had stopped as a result of the war, it was stated. Many had been drafted to new hospitals out of
London, where there were only about half- a-dozen patients and no sister tutors.

Condemning the low salaries of trained nurses. Nurse Askey said that two men at her first aid post who had tailed in their examination were nevertheless receiving £2, 18s. 6d., the salary which she, as a trained nurse, was recieving

A resolution vas carried expressing "profound resentment" at the indifferent manner in which trained nurses, nurses in training and assistant nurses were being treated. :

A special committee of registered nurses was appointed by the committee to consider what further steps should be taken, and to arrange a deputation to the Minister of Health.

Daily Mirror 17th November 1939