Helen Whately is in the headlines for falling out with student nurses, among other things.
The new Care Minister is responsible for the decision to discharge people out of hospital beds and into care homes during the peak of the coronavirus crisis.
Who is Helen Whateley?
Helen Whately, 44, is the MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, having served since 2015.
She is an Oxford graduate and a former management consultant.
During her five year political career she has had a history of clashes with TV personalities like Piers Morgan.
A clash in April on GMB ended up with 2000 Ofcom complaints against Morgan who was accused of bullying after he called her “utterly useless”.
She was in trouble this month when she suggested that the Government could blame scientists over the handling of coronavirus patients being sent to care homes to free up hospitals.
In a massive on-air blunder Ms Whately said she could “stick it” to the scientists over the deaths of more than 12,000 people in care homes.
What is her government role?
Whately is the new Minister for State at the Department for Health and Social Care.
She was appointed February 13 2020, during the early stages of Britain’s battle with coronavirus.
She has previously served as Deputy Chair of the Tories.
What did she say about student nurses?
Whately is now accused of making student nurses who risk their lives fighting coronavirus for notoriously little pay feel “worthless”.
She told nurse Jessica Collins that NHS student nurses are “not deemed to be providing a service”.
There is an ongoing outcry from student nurses who signed a six-month contract when the call went out for our medics to save the nation in April.
The Tories canceled that contract a few weeks ago and it will expire in July as there are fewer patients. This leaves nurses like Jessica out of a job for two months.
Ms Collins wrote to her MP to point out that her coronavirus-fighting cohort were being left out of pocket because they fell into a gap between an old bursary system and one which is going to be launched for next year’s intake.
The MP, Tom Pursglove, wrote to Mrs Whately to get clarification for Jessica.
In her reply, Mrs Whately wrote: “Student nurses are supernumerary and are not deemed to be providing a service.
“They are required to undertake 2,300 hours of clinical practice to learn the skills necessary for entry to the workforce.
“Whilst they may be providing limited clinical duties, this is under close supervision and they are not being paid to staff hospitals.”
In the letter Mrs Whately went on to thank Ms Collins for her service: “Now more than ever we value the NHS workforce and appreciate the dedicated care that they provide and I would like to thank Ms Collins for pursuing a career in the NHS”
Jessica called the response “a slap in the face” and many other student nurses have noted that the tune has changed somewhat from a few months ago, and want an apology.
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