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Decent NHS pay rise ‘vital’ for staff morale

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Morale in the NHS is at breaking point Morale in the NHS is at breaking point

Health unions have written to new Health Secretary Sajid Javid stressing the importance of improving pay in ensuring the NHS is prepared to deal with its many post-pandemic challenges.

The letter – signed by the heads of the RCN, UNISON and the Royal College of Midwives – is on behalf of 14 unions representing more than a million NHS staff across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. With the NHS Pay Review Body report with the secretary of state for consideration, the unions say ‘all eyes are on the government’ as health care workers await the outcome of this pay round.

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‘A significant pay rise would help health workers feel valued and let them know their efforts during the pandemic have not gone unnoticed,’ the letter says. ‘It would also signal the government’s commitment to addressing the huge backlog of appointments, treatments and operations cancelled to allow the NHS to focus on COVID-19.’

The letter acknowledges that pay is not the only reason people join or leave the health service but says that it is a major factor. A decent wage rise ‘would help prevent a post-pandemic exodus’ of staff as the economy recovers and job vacancies open up elsewhere, it states. The unions are asking to meet with Sajid Javid as a matter of urgency to discuss the vital role a pay rise would play in enabling the NHS to recover after the pandemic.

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‘Extra money in the pockets, purses and wallets of hospital cleaners, nurses, healthcare assistants, midwives, porters, paramedics and all their NHS colleagues would be spent in every high street and retail park in the land,’ adds the letter.

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