The moment is emblematic for the largest Brazilian health workforce. In front of crowded galleries and auditoriums, the plenary of the Chamber of Deputies approved the national floor of Nursing by 449 votes to 12. Once again, the defense of the matter united left, center and right parties, base and opposition, as a sign that, even when polarized, the country can unite around a just cause.
“There were 160 days between approval in the Senate and the House. During all these days, we worked tirelessly to achieve this result. The leaders and the category are to be congratulated for their mobilization and their ability to face it. It was beautiful to see all the initiatives that emerged in these months. I feel happy and accomplished to be part of this historic moment and I’m sure it will only be the starting point to conquer more dignity in our profession”, highlights the president of the Federal Nursing Council (Cofen), Betânia Santos.
Caravans from all regions of the country traveled to Brasília to follow the vote. Demonstrations with thousands of people dressed in white took over the country’s capital. Cofen’s channels recorded over half a million views, with approximately 50,000 people watching the broadcast simultaneously.
In the Chamber plenary, the forcefulness of the speeches drew attention. “It is unthinkable that a professional activity of such importance does not have a floor defined by law. Nursing is present in all actions developed in the SUS. They are men and women with double or even triple work shifts. They are present 24 hours a day in the health units. They assist patients at all times, from prenatal care to the most painful moment of death. Nursing was on the front line of the pandemic, risking its own life to perform the calls and, today, it is carrying out the vaccination of the Brazilian people. Much more has to be done. It is the duty of Brazilian society to listen and discuss the demands of this class”, said the reporter for the matter, deputy Carmen Zanotto (Citizenship-SC).
“Nursing represents everything this country has applauded in recent years. Whoever treats the miserable salary of the category as something acceptable does not know what exhausting work means, a poorly dimensioned team, an unworthy rest, an exhausting journey”, said deputy Célio Studart (PSD-CE). “Brazil is extremely grateful to these professionals who save lives on the front lines. It is our obligation to guarantee this floor. It’s been a 30-year struggle for these workers,” said deputy Sâmia Bomfim (PSOL-SP).
The time it took the parliament to legislate on the floor is staggering and there are other projects stalled, to be analyzed by Congress, such as the 30-hour working day. “For more than 20 years, the Chamber has turned its back on these professionals. So today is just part of the justice being done. Now, it’s 30 hours, already! How dare any deputy to vote against?”, asked deputy Fred Costa (Patriotas-MG). “I am sure that Brazilian society would like to be here in our place, voting yes to Brazilian Nursing”, amended Deputy Marcelo Freixo (PSB-RJ).
The consensus of the federal entities that represent the category around PL 2564 was built from discussions held at the National Nursing Forum. “The process that culminated in the approval of this subject represents a learning experience for all of us. It is only possible to accomplish great things like this, together. I believe that from here on, we will walk aware that, even with our differences, we must always converge for the common good of the category. We are willing to work to build a promising future”, emphasizes counselor Daniel Menezes, Cofen representative at the Forum.
Betânia believes that the approval by a large and expressive majority in the Chamber and Senate expresses the popular will and should be taken into account by the Presidency of the Republic. “We hope that President Jair Bolsonaro recognizes the work provided by Nursing to the country and sanctions the salary floor for the category. This is a fair measure, especially after overcoming the pandemic and all the challenges that were imposed on the front line. As a troop of soldiers who have literally returned from the war, we deserve this recognition on your part,” he says.
Before sending PL 2564 to sanction, representatives of the category and the Brazilian parliament already articulate sources of funding to make the national level of Nursing viable. Last Tuesday (3), a delegation met with Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga to discuss budget allocations for the project. Zanotto (Citizenship-SC) believes that transfers and discharges are the way to finance the necessary investment. “The federal government can allocate resources to states, municipalities and service providers associated with the SUS. As for the private system, we have other alternatives, such as exemption from payroll”, ponders the parliamentarian.
Senator Eliziane Gama (Citizenship-MA) presented a Proposal for Amendment to the Constitution (PEC) to establish the national level of Nursing without overloading the municipalities. “An agreement was reached with a group of federal deputies, which will present a PLP (Complementary Law Project) to create a financing fund in the order of R$ 16 billion and it was up to the Senate to present a PEC, to protect the municipalities . One of the ideas discussed by parliamentarians for financing is through profits and dividends from large companies. The approval of the PEC and the PLP will bring legal certainty for the full validity of the salary floor”, considers the parliamentarian.
According to data collected by the working group of the Chamber of Deputies that analyzed the economic impact of the floor of the category, the investment necessary to eradicate the miserable wages in the area of Nursing represents only 4% of the investment of the SUS or only 5% of the revenue of the health plans. health in Brazil. PL 2564 establishes a salary floor of R$ 4,750 for nurses and nurses, 70% of this amount for technicians and technicians and 50% for assistants and midwives. Today, there are 1.1 million professionals in the science of care on the front lines.