Liverpool Lord Mayor backs nurses despite needing treatment during strike

“Stop applauding the commitment and reward them with a double digit pay award”

The Lord Mayor of Liverpool has revealed a “life threatening” diagnosis as he made a rare personal speech on the NHS.

During a full meeting of Liverpool Council this evening, Cllr Roy Gladden, made a break with regular convention as he delivered an emotional speech on the ongoing industrial action being taken by nurses. Ahead of a motion laid in Mayor Joanne Anderson’s name calling on members to back the strikes being staged by the Royal College of Nurses (RCN), Cllr Gladden revealed his own health scare just before Christmas.

He said he had been talked into going to hospital on his birthday, December 13, by his wife and fellow councillor Roz Gladden. It was at this point he was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism, something he recognised could have been “life threatening.”

A pulmonary embolism is a blocked blood vessel in the lungs and can prove potentially fatal if not treated quickly. Cllr Gladden said during his time in hospital, he was “appalled” by the large number of people waiting for treatment and said he saw every chair was taken, trolleys in corridors and people sitting on the floor.

The Lord Mayor said his second visit to hospital fell on the day that industrial action was being held and he was reluctant to cross a picket line. However, he said, those taking a strike took the time to help him and wished him well.

Cllr Gladden described health care workers as “ordinary men and women who go beyond what’s expected of them” and called on the government to “stop applauding the commitment and reward them with a double digit pay award.” The Lord Mayor also said NHS staff needed a “safe and rewarding environment.”

Moving the motion, deputy mayor, Cllr Frazer Lake, said NHS staff’s cries had “fallen on deaf ears,” adding “the NHS doesn’t want to be clapped, claps don’t pay the bills.” Labour group leader Cllr Liam Robinson said the sight of people being treated on trollies as stated by the Lord Mayor were “scenes from disaster areas, not a developed country.”

Cllr Clare McIntyre, who works in the NHS, said staff are at “breaking point, burnt out and drowning daily.” In passing the motion, the council has instructed Theresa Grant, interim chief executive, Anne Marie Lubanski, the strategic director of adult social care, and the cabinet, to write to Steve Barclay MP, the health secretary, requesting increased funding for both the NHS and for local authorities to spend on social care, and for Mr Barclay to agree to the Royal College of Nurses pay claim, “correcting over a decade of decline in real terms salaries.”

Mayor Anderson’s motion will now allow the council to write to the Liverpool branch of the RCN, Unison and GMB unions supporting the industrial action. All parties will now meet to “discuss the financial challenges of the market and to look at what is possible within the council’s financial envelope to support.”

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