|Do you know how you are going to vote on 8 June? Two party leaders hoping to persuade nurses to mark the X in the box next to their names addressed the Royal College of Nursing Congress this week, but the one who stayed away arguably got noticed more – by her absence.|
Despite the snap election being called and no doubt making campaign trail planning even more busy than usual, both the leaders of the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats made time to be in Liverpool. While both Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron accepted the RCN’s invitation to speak to Congress, Theresa May did not even reply until a second invitation was issued.And to that, her officials responded by email. They said that Ms May could not come, but that she wished the delegates a successful conference and pointed out that the Conservative government recognised the great job nurses did and that is why they had invested in more nurse posts while they had been in power.
She might as well have typed “Nurses, I do not want your votes” in 10 feet high letters and flown it from a plane high about the Mersey docks.
Her response showed the same lack of insight that she has been accused of since the now infamous Andrew Marr “foodbank” interview, where she did not acknowledge the poverty-stricken position many nurses find themselves in.
Ms May clearly thinks she has lost the nursing vote, or doesn’t need it. So much so she isn’t prepared to fight for it personally or to spare her health secretary’s time – or even that of a junior minister – to go and talk to the largest workforce in the NHS.