'I hear staff crying' - Striking Sussex student nurse says they want to treat patients 'safely'
A Sussex nurse has revealed how she's cried - and heard of colleagues crying too - due to pressures on the NHS ahead of what's expected to be the biggest strike in the organisation's history.
Apprentice student nurse Alex Entwisle said: "I've gone home from placements crying. I've heard of people crying in the staffroom".
"Every shift I've worked for probably a few years now, we've been understaffed."
Monday's strike is the first time that ambulance workers and nurses have walked out on the same day in a dispute over pay and conditions.
Nurses will remain on strike on Tuesday. Ambulance workers will return to work but are due to walk out again on Friday.
Alex, who works in Haywards Heath, continued: "There's so much work on the wards that everyone is burnt out."
"We don't want to be out on a strike line. We want to be nursing our patients, but safely."
Those in the ambulance service are equally stretched.
Ambulance worker Chloe Burke is based in Crawley and is concerned about patient safety and pay.
She added: "Turning up to those patients who've been on the floor for 8 to 12 hours... elderly people, cancer patients... is devastating."
Chloe, who works for the ambulance service in Crawley, added: "Three years ago I could afford to live comfortably on the salary I'm on. Today I absolutely can't ... because everything is so much more expensive."
Healthcare support worker Rebecca Haines works in Brighton and is worried that the current concerns will also affect future recruitment.
She said: "(It's the) sheer debt that you're left with after being a newly qualified nurse... my friend (is) going to France to study nursing for free."
"If you want anything more than your basic bills paid, you really do have to work extra shifts for that."
But despite the current difficulties, Rebecca is determined to continue fighting.
"If we all gave up on the NHS, there would be no NHS".
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said that unions should call off the strikes, insisting that the government could not give in to above-inflation pay claims.
“The Governor of the Bank of England warned if we try to beat inflation with high pay rises, it will only get worse and people would not be better off,” he added.
“I have held constructive talks with the trade unions on pay and affordability and continue to urge them to call off the strikes.”