Good Morning Britain were discussing Helen Whately’s letter to student nurses today. Presenters Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid were joined by Jessica Collins who contacted the Conservative Government via her local MP Tom Pursglove for help in regards to the possibility of backdating the new £5000 grant for student nurses – many of whom have cut short training to help health services during the coronavirus crisis. In the interest of balance, Reid went to read the statement supplied to GMB from a government spokesman, but her co-host Morgan spoke over her and viewers were unable to hear the comment clearly.
“We asked for an interview, no one was available,” Reid began. “The Department of Health though, say Helen Whately’s words were taken out of context -”
Morgan interrupted: “Sorry, why have we got to read this?”
“Well I’m going to read it anyway -” Reid argued. “In a statement, the Care Minister said -”
“Why? Sorry, if a government won’t come on our programme, why should we read their wishy-washy statement?” Morgan continued.
“Because I think it’s interesting what they say,” Reid stated.
“If they want to have their statement read, come on the programme!” Morgan hit back.
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“Well can I read the statement?” Reid asked and Morgan remarked: “No, don’t bother.”
“Why,” Reid quizzed. Morgan explained: “Because if they’re not going to come on – they’re boycotting us – I’m going to boycott their stupid little statement, sorry.”
“Well, I’m not! I’m going to read it,” Reid said and Morgan replied: “I think you should!”
GMB viewers then saw Reid state: “You don’t have to read it! Let me read it!”
But Morgan was having none of it and remained firm with his stance: “You don’t have to read it – no one has to read it.”
“Well, I’d like to read it! I want to hear the government’s explanation for why she said those words,” Reid reiterated.
“If you want to hear it, tell them to come on the programme,” Morgan spoke over Reid.
Reid read out the statement and refused to let Morgan’s continual spiel distract her.
She said: “The whole country is grateful to student nurses for their heroic work on the NHS frontline.
“Supernumerary status for student nurses is a technical definition created to ensure they have the space and time to learn and it is widely supported across the nursing profession.
“There is a strong financial aid package for nurses and going forward we have introduced even further support with grants to help with maintenance and study costs which do not need to be paid back.”
Those watching at home were left divided – some agreed with Morgan’s argument, while others wanted to hear the statement.
“I agree with @piersmorgan, Good Morning Britain should refuse to read out government statements if they are too lazy or arrogant to go on the morning show. Newsnight and Channel 4 News should do the same #GMB,” one tweet read.
Another said: “Good on you @piersmorgan if the government boycott #gmb then why should you have to voice their disclaimers! Let them come on and explain themselves!”
“100% agree with @piersmorgan if there gonna boycott your show dont give there statements any airtime #gmb @GMB,” a third wrote.
However one argued: “@susannareid100 is the consummate professional #GMB #goodmorningbritain.”
“Whilst @piersmorgan might have a point, that was professionally handled @susannareid100… The look you gave at the end was priceless…,” a viewer tweeted.
Someone else commented: “Piers your a disgrace people may of wanted to hear what they had to say, too talk over Susannah its pathetic #GMB.”
While one simply asked: “@gmb for f**** sake someone READ IT..#gmb.”
It comes after the grant for student nurses will be reintroduced later this year after the bursary system for student nurses and midwives were scrapped in England back in 2015.
But those who completed their courses in the intervening period have called for payments to be backdated so they can slash their university debt.
The issues was raised by student nurse Collins, who after contacting Pursglove, Care Minister at the Department of Health and Social Care reached out with a response.
The letter Whately wrote has since gone viral, and it stated: “The Government has no plans to introduce a scheme that will backdate the offer for students who completed courses in earlier years.
“Student nurses in training are supernumerary and are not deemed to be providing a service. They are required to undertake 2,300 hours of clinical practice to learn the skills necessary for entry to the workforce.
“Whilst they may be performing limited clinical duties, this is under close supervision and they are not being paid to staff hospitals.”
The Tory minister has since been condemned by politicians, media pundits and members of the public.