When I was young, my parents both had motorbikes and needed physio after accidents. So I saw the physio having a real impact on their lives. My Grandma also suffered a fall and fractured her hip after which she needed a lot of rehab to get her home. That’s what made me choose my career.
It’s so rewarding when someone you’ve treated comes back to show you how much better they are, and to know that you’ve helped them change their lives.
I specialise in hand injuries and burns, which can have a physical and psychological impact on people for their whole lives. When the treatment works, patients go from thinking that their whole world is ending to being able to get back to work and resume a good quality of life. Of course employers also benefit if their employees are fit enough to return to work sooner, ultimately cutting the NHS spend!
That’s what motivates me when I go into work in the morning.
Unfortunately, I can see that conditions at work have deteriorated. The hospital is a different place than it used to be. The expectation is that you’ll take on more and more, and do it all more effectively and efficiently. And at the same time, the government cuts our pay in real terms.
I’d say morale is the worst it’s ever been. People are in tears every week. The thing is, we’ve faced years of insidious, creeping changes. You might not notice a 1% pay cap at first, but a few years down the line you realise you’ve been cutting back and cutting back.
I live within my means, but my means keep getting smaller. I’m careful with my weekly shop, I’m always renegotiating my utility bills, but it’s getting harder to make ends meet and I don’t have money for the little luxuries in life!
What NHS staff are paid doesn’t reflect the work that they do. It certainly doesn’t cover all the unpaid overtime we put in. Never in a million years would anyone in the health service leave a patient just because their shift had ended.
We carry on, working hard to ensure that even if cuts are hurting us, they don’t hurt our patients.
Despite that, it feels like we’re getting hammered from all sides.
Something’s got to change. We need a properly-funded NHS service, free at the point of access. We need to strip out back-door privatisation and costly competition and get back to the job in hand.
And like all public servants, we need a fair pay rise.
I’m sure my MP would want the best of the best to be there for them in the middle of the night if they were taken unwell or were in an accident. They also want to know that the place they need to go for help was properly staffed! But to ensure top-quality care, you need to invest in the people who provide it.
If you're in Central London on Tuesday 17 October, join our rally in Parliament Square.
Write to your MP now, calling on them to demand a fair pay rise for our public servants.