- Alfie Baron
Nurse Claire Austin questioned the First Minister during a televised BBC Leaders' Debate. Ms Austin made Nicola Sturgeon admit the nurses had only received one per cent increases since 2008.
Ms Austin made her thoughts to Nicola Sturgeon clear: "The NHS - you say that you have ploughed millions into it - I am a nurse who can’t manage on the salary that I have, I have to go to foodbanks. I am struggling to pay bills. I want you to explain to me if you know one area where any of that money has gone? Can you tell me because I can absolutely assure you nurses are seeing none of it on the ground floor."
Scottish Nationalists immediately went into meltdown and went into overdrive in an attempt to discredit Ms Austin. Behaviour which later forced SNP candidate Joanna Cherry to issue an apology. These apologies are rare.
This hasn't stopped the Wings Over Scotland twitter account from making snidey comments and pushing her for answers.
The Scottish Labour Leader has written to nurse Claire Austin thanking her for her input and offering her some support.
Here is Kezia Dugdale's letter:23/05/2017
Thank you for attending the BBC Scotland General Election Leaders Debate last Sunday evening.
You were right to shame the First Minister by exposing the reality of life for nurses working in our NHS is under the SNP and your own experience of having to use a food bank.
During this election campaign I’ve encountered a number of nurses who have also told me that they have needed to use a foodbank and l was also pleased to see that both the Trussel Trust and the Poverty Alliance have pointed out that this is not uncommon.
Our NHS staff are the foundation of our health service, but they aren't getting the support and the resources they need from the SNP government, in fact Scotland's nurses have seen a real terms pay cut of £3,400 under the SNP pay cap.
The first step in delivering an NHS that delivers the care Scots needs is to give staff the pay they deserve. l'm clear that Labour would scrap the 1 per cent pay cap to give our NHS staff the pay increase they deserve. something the SNP failed to do in Parliament only a fortnight ago when we put the issue to a vote.
Immediately after the debate, I was horrified that SNP politicians, both at the debate and on-line, had launched a smear campaign against you with accusations and claims that were simply not true.
I know that your colleagues and the hundreds of people across Scotland who have had a similar experience to you will be grateful for sharing your experiences and speaking up for them when you were given the opportunity.
p.s. If there is ever anything I can do to help or support you please do let me know.
Leader of the Scottish Labour Party