More and more health staff are resorting to payday loans and food banks in order to make ends meet, results from Unison's annual survey has found.
In the survey of 21,000 NHS workers, more than two thirds (67%) said they had either sought financial help or made major changes to their standards of living in the past 12 months.
The study found that 11% had pawned possessions to ease their cashflow problems, and 10% had turned to payday loans to help them cope.
Unison head of health Christina McAnea, said that these figures 'paint a shocking picture of the effects of pay restraint on hardworking NHS staff'.
A band five community nurse said in the survey: 'I feel insulted when I received a 1% pay rise following my first year in employment but my national insurance contributions are also increased, therefore I am no better off. The cost of my childcare has also increased 'in line with the increased national minimal wage.'
Unison has called for a clear commitment to change Agenda for Change which will make a minimum pay rate of £10 achievable.
'NHS staff are now 14% worse off than they were in 2010, NHS finances are tighter than ever, pressure and demand in the system continues to grow, inflation is expected to rise and something has to give. The government needs to act now, starting with a clear strategy for improving pay before the situation deteriorates even further and we are faced with an exodus of hard-working, caring staff,' added Ms McAnea.
Unison's findings backs up research conducted earlier this year by Independent Nurse which found that over 90% of respondents had struggled with living costs. Just over 16% of respondents had used payday loans to cover living costs.
Additionally data released from a payday loan provider of over 160,000 payday loan applications, taken since January 2015, shows a high number of people in the health and social care sector are turning to payday loans.
Of those working in health and social care who have applied for loans 19% were nurses, 18% were professional carers and 11% were healthcare assistants.
A nurse from Buckinghamshire, said in the research: 'I love working as a children's nurse, but the money we are paid is just not enough. Even though I am a very senior nurse, my salary has been frozen for the past six years. At the end of the day, I always end up needing more money, and since the bank will not lend to me, I am forced to take payday loans.'