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article imageRoyal wedding leads to holiday payment row among UK health staff

By Andrew John     Apr 12, 2011 in Health
The forthcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton has led to a row between health staff and the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
The day – April 29 – has been declared a public holiday (called a bank holiday in the UK), but NHS staff in Derbyshire, in the English Midlands, will not be paid extra for working that day.
“Derby’s hospitals, Derbyshire Community Health Services, East Midlands Ambulance Service and the former mental health trust Derbyshire Healthcare are all not paying their staff extra,” says the ThisIsDerbyshire news website.
However, health officials say they are “allowing as many staff as possible to have a paid holiday while those who must work will get a day off in lieu.”
The website quotes the national officer for health for the union Unite, Rachael Maskell, as saying: “Despite the dedication and the huge pressure on NHS staff, a significant number of NHS trusts are stubbornly refusing to pay bank holiday rates for working during the royal wedding.”
But the director of human resources at Derby’s hospitals, Karen Martin, says that the extra day off being given to staff would cost the service £687,000.
“Feedback from staff has been positive – people are pleased they have the extra paid day off but also recognise the need to keep vital services going,” she says.
The royal wedding has, however, meant that some health services will be closed down for the day – something likely to be replicated throughout the country.
Karen Martin says of Derby: “Where we’ve been able to, we have closed down services for the day. Areas that will be working include emergency theatres, cancer services, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, diagnostics, pharmacy and the labour ward.”
Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
Prince of Wales website
Meanwhile, 70 percent of Britons are said to feel embarrassed to admit that they will buy or will have bought a royal wedding souvenir.
The Lancashire Evening Post says researchers found “a fear of embarrassment”, because to buy a William-and-Kate souvenir was “seen as ‘tacky’ and a waste of money.”
The research was commissioned by the commercial television channel Bid TV.
“Our survey shows a large percentage of the nation is caught up in the excitement of the Royal Wedding later this month,” says a channel spokesman. “But, while millions plan to fork out and buy souvenirs to mark this special occasion, it seems they aren’t so keen to admit it to friends and family.
“When you hear the word ‘souvenir’ the thought of tacky items, cluttering up shelves and collecting dusts in British homes spring to mind. And this might be enough to dissuade Brits from letting on to their pals about their purchases.”
He continued: “But a cleverly thought-out item could fetch a fair few pounds in years to come, so they shouldn’t be shunned – they just need to be chosen with care.”
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