Why we must make work pay

By DAVID WOODING
SOME people have never done an honest day’s work in their life.
It’s a phrase that trips off the tongue all too easily.
But for nearly four million people, it’s a stark reality.
One in nine work-age people have no idea what it is like to start a job – never mind get the sack.
While many who are disabled, carers or genuinely can’t find work, there is an increasing stubborn hardcore who are content to live a life on benefits.
We used to be famous for the Great British worker. Now we are seeing the rise of the Great British shirker.
Statistics released by the Office for National statistics this week will incense those who work long hours and struggle to make ends meet.
At least 200,000 over-65s admit they dodged doing any paid work right up to retirement.
More alarmingly, a third of the four million who have been economically inactive all their “working” lives are aged 18 to 24.
Studies show that those who don’t work by their mid-20s are unlikely ever to get a job.
David Cameron said only this week that too many kids want to be footballers or singing stars.
But why should those who can be bothered to get up in the morning be forced to pay for pop idles?
We need doctors, nurses, teachers, car mechanics and road gritters, too. Most of all we need to rediscover the work ethic.
That’s why Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith must press ahead with his reform of our cushy benefits system. More is needed to make it worth people’s while to work, too.
It may be too late for a lost generation of couch potatoes happy to live on state handouts and channel surf reality shows.
But our kids are the future – and they need hope.
The government can help with proper apprenticeships, paid internships and by driving up school standards.
And by ensuring that work always pays.
 
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1,000 matrons jobs go

By DAVID WOODING

A THOUSAND matrons have vanished from hospitals in the past three years – despite David Cameron’s pledge to give them more clout.

NHS figures show that one in six of the top nursing jobs have gone since Labour’s last year in power.

It emerged just months after the PM promised to have more figures of authority on the wards.

Mr Cameron said:  “Nursing needs to be about patients not paperwork. People want to see a figure of authority on the ward. Call them a matron, a ward -sister, or a team leader.”

But official figures show the number of modern matrons has fallen from 5,035 to 4,157 between 2009 and August this year.

Community matron numbers were down from 1,552 to 1,391 over the same period, according to statistics published in the Commons.

Labour said the figures were a blow to moves to improve leadership and cleanliness on wards.

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Shadow health minister Andrew Gwynne (pictured above) said: “David Cameron promised to back matron, but he’s sacked matron instead.

“A formidable matron on a hospital ward goes a long way to reassure patients. They lead the nurses and make sure wards are spotless. Yet the Prime Minister’s spending cuts have cost the NHS a thousand matrons.

“Without strong leaders on the wards patients will pay the price. Ministers are taking unacceptable risks with standards of patient care. They cannot continue to ignore the warnings from nurses’ leaders.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “The NHS needs senior nurses to lead patient care at ward level. We want to see more of that – not less. But this data is wrong, as it doesn’t take account of four different types of senior nurses.  Looking at matron numbers alone is simplistic.
“We want to free up nurses’ time so they can spend it with patients – not with paperwork.”