A CAMPAIGNING nurse has demanded her voice is heard by staging a one-woman protest outside a Southend MP’s office amid calls for an NHS pay rise.

Emma Gracie, 39, who has worked in the public sector for the past 23 years, called for a 15 per cent pay rise for nurses.

She has already written two letters to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for more support for NHS nurses and care staff.

Emma, who protested outside MP Sir David Amess’s office on Monday, says it’s a kick in the teeth that nurses and social care staff haven’t had a pay rise, despite other public sector workers receiving one.

The protest comes after campaign group Save Southend NHS, which Emma has worked alongside in the past, was allegedly blocked by the Southend West MP on Twitter.

She explained: “Other public sector workers have had a pay rise to thank them for their efforts and nurses haven’t had that.

“Of course they deserve it too, but nurses were a huge part in carrying the country through the first wave of the pandemic in many ways.

“This campaign isn’t something I was originally part of, but I got to know the team from Save Southend NHS after one of their members read my book, which is basically a nursing memoir that I sent to Boris Johnson.

“They invited me to speak at the march in Southend on September 12, which is where I heard the quote from 2019 Southend Labour candidate Aston Line – he also spoke at the event.

“It said ‘I refuse to be content in a world where a full-time working nurse has to rely on food banks to feed their family. None of us should think that is OK.’

“I really liked it, especially since the first letter I wrote to Boris in February came after I’d read about nurses having to use food banks, so thought I’d use it at the protest.

“Everyone should be able to contact their MP, so it did make me cross and I wanted to raise awareness on the issue. I stand by what Save Southend NHS believe in.

“This is about recognising the pressure of the work and what nurses do, even before the Covid pandemic. Since then it’s really taken off, so about a month ago I wrote to Boris for a second time.”

Emma, from Southend, wrote her book Blue Girl: Nursing Beyond the Ward about her experiences of nursing. It is available on Amazon.

She said: “I’ve kept a diary from over the years about the journey I’ve had and the patients I’ve met, so while I was shielding through lockdown this was my way of contributing. I’m on immuno-suppressants which makes me vulnerable,”

Sir David was asked for comment.