Michael Rosen talks to health workers about Covid, the NHS and pay

Poet and author Michael Rosen will virtually join health workers from across the east of England tomorrow to talk about his battle with Covid-19 and the NHS staff who saw him through it.

The former children’s laureate will be interviewed by UNISON head of health Sara Gorton about his debt of thanks to NHS workers after spending 12 weeks in hospital with coronavirus and his views on the union’s campaign for a £2,000 pay rise for every member of NHS staff.

Michael Rosen has more than 140 books under his belt and will read extracts from his most recent offering Many Different Kinds of Love: A Story of Life, Death and the NHS at the online event.

In it he combines stunning new prose poetry with the coronavirus diaries of his nurses, doctors and wife for an intensely powerful account of his battle with Covid-19.

Michael Rosen said: “I was practically camped outside death’s door during my time in hospital but NHS workers pulled me back from the brink and then helped me learn to walk again down the road to recovery.

“It’s hard to put into words the incredible debt of gratitude I owe to the doctors, nurses, healthcare assistance, physiotherapists and countless others who saved my life.

“But while these heroes have given everything for me, and thousands others like me, they’re struggling on poverty wages after years of austerity. It’s gobsmacking that the government thinks the best we can do for them is a 1% pay rise.”

Health workers and members of the public are invited to sign up to the free event on Wednesday 26 May at 6.15pm.


UNISON Eastern head of health Sasha Savage said: “Michael Rosen knows better than most the incredible sacrifices NHS workers have made over more than a year.

“They’re overworked and underpaid. They desperately need a proper pay rise to stave off a total burnout. Without a real – financial – thank you many health staff simply can’t afford to be there when next we need them.”


Title image credit Chris Boland