'Sick of it': Nurse Jenny quits NHS, plans holiday in NZ

Invercargill nurse Jenny McGee, who hit the headlines as the "Nurse Jenny" who cared for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has resigned from the National Health Service, citing a lack of respect.

The New Zealander revealed her decision in an upcoming Channel 4 documentary, criticising Johnson's Conservative government's handling of the NHS.

In the doco, McGee gave details of her care for Johnson in April 2020 - and how she became disillusioned in the aftermath.

New Zealand nurse Jenny McGee. Supplied photo
New Zealand nurse Jenny McGee. Supplied photo

"I remember seeing him and thinking he looked very, very unwell. He was a different colour, really," she told the doco titled The Year That Britain Stopped.

"It's so surreal, that's the prime minister. They are very complicated patients to look after and we just didn't know what was going to happen."

Johnson highlighted the work of McGee and Portuguese nurse Luis Pitarma after his recovery, saying their care saved his life.

But after being invited to Downing St for a "Clap for Carers" event, McGee said she wanted to stay out of the limelight.

"It would have been a really good photo opportunity," she said.

"You know, kind of like Boris and his NHS friends, but I wanted to stay out of it.

"Lots of nurses felt that the government hadn't led very effectively, the indecisiveness, so many mixed messages.

"It was just very upsetting.

"Yes, we have put ourselves on the line and we have worked so incredibly hard, and there's a lot of talk about how we're all heroes and all that sort of stuff.

"But at the same time, I'm just not sure if I can do it. I don't know how much more I've got to give to the NHS.

"We're not getting the respect and now pay that we deserve.

"I'm just sick of it. So I've handed in my resignation."

In a statement, McGee confirmed what she told documentary makers.

"After the toughest year of my nursing career, I'm taking a step back from the NHS but hope to return in the future," she said.

"I'm excited to start a nursing contract in the Caribbean, before a holiday back home in New Zealand later in the year.

"I'm so proud to have worked at St Thomas' Hospital and to have been part of such a fantastic team."

In a statement, the PM's office defended the government's handling of the pandemic: "Our NHS staff have gone above and beyond over the past year and this government will do everything in our power to support them."

"We are extremely grateful for the care NHS staff have provided throughout the pandemic in particular."

Sir Keir Starmer took aim at government after McGee's decision was revealed, the Labour leader saying her decision was a "devastating indictment of Boris Johnson's approach to the people who put their lives on the line for him and our whole country".

Comments

NZ's not much better. Hurrah for the nurses, care home workers, supermarket staff who were ESSENTIAL workers during the lockdown.
Afterwards, hey guys bask in the praise. OK time's over now. Back to conditions as before.
Why wasn't there a huge shake-up, mentally, about what "essential" work is. Who isn't much missed if their job isn't done for a day, a week, annual leave, away at a conference?
Shouldn't this be reflected in pay and conditions such as safety at work?
The anger and rudeness to supermarket workers that erupted during lockdown as if store staff deliberately kept shelves empty of goods that simply were not available, that behaviour has persisted, become a habit, till the attempted killings at Countdown made it impossible for police, Head Office and the public to ignore it.

As for Nurse Jenny and NHS colleagues - words of gratitude are not enough. "Fine words butter no parsnips." Good on her by using her profile to speak out and walk out.

this should serve as a warning to NZ that trying to save money through under-funding health is a financially incompetent short term decision. In the long term having a fully funded health system allows the whole country to reap the benefits. Getting rid of the separate DHBs is a good start as the duplication of CEOs and CFOs etc is a wast of money and as for the IT attacks that were on a DHB recently if they had competent IT workers then they could of prevented this attack . Why do you think that it only affects some DHBs and companies but not all. I am an IT specialist and this attack was totally preventable do not believe it was inevitable.

drivesouth-pow-generic-1.png

 

Advertisement

postanote_header_620_x_80.png

postanote_620_x_25.jpg

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter