Nurses across the Midlands are some of the hardest hit in the credit crunch with nearly half forced to take a second job to survive, according to debt help advisors.
Almost half of nurses in the region have revealed they cannot make ends meet, in a survey on the financial climate by Midlands insolvency practitioner Debt Lifeboat.
And four in every ten healthcare professionals questioned said they were reliant on second jobs to meet mounting monthly bills.
The poll also showed more than 30 per cent of nurses are in serious financial difficulty such as bankruptcy and IVAs, while 45 per cent stated that they worry about their finances every day.
Glenn Turp, a Royal College of Nursing regional director, said: “With the economy under severe pressure, it’s not just nurses who are feeling the pinch. But with some health care assistants earning less than £13,000 a year and with food and fuel bills soaring, it’s not surprising that some of our members are defaulting on their mortgages.
“The financial situation is also a huge problem for our student nurses. We need to keep them in training in order to sustain the nursing workforce for the future, but some of them simply cannot afford to study in the current climate.”
Almost half of student nurses owe up to £1,000, while six per cent are more than £10,000 in debt, according to Unison, the country’s largest public service union.
Concerns are also surfacing over nurses having second jobs as it may make them more tired when working on the wards, leading to errors in such a responsible field.
Phillip Allen, managing director of Debt Lifeboat, believes the results of this survey demonstrate the effect that the credit crunch is having on people’s day-to-day lives.
“These results show that the level of anxiety amongst the Midlands healthcare professionals is particularly acute,” said Mr Allen.
“Each day, our insolvency advisers are getting more phone calls from people in the West Midlands who have reached breaking-point with their finances.
“Traditional advice like planning for the future and setting money aside each week for big expenses, aren’t always practical in the current climate.
“There are people in Midlands, not just healthcare professionals – mothers, fathers, grandparents – who are really struggling at the moment.”
A graduate nurse can expect to start on a salary of around £20,000 with nurses earning up to £32,000 based on their experience and seniority.
Students can spend 50 per cent of their time or 2,000 hours in practical work on the wards and then have to go to a second job to make ends meet.