Healthcare unions have slammed the Department of Health and Social Care’s recommendation that nurses and other staff receive a 1% pay rise.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and the national recognition of the efforts of nurses and other NHS staff, the government has only offered what the Labour Party suggests amounts to a pay cut when inflation is taken into account.
‘This is pitiful and bitterly disappointing. The government is dangerously out of touch with nursing staff, NHS workers and the public,’ said RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary Dame Donna Kinnair.
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“It is not a done deal but the government has revealed its hand for the first time. With the time remaining before the Pay Review Body recommendation, the government can expect a backlash from a million NHS workers. Taxpayers are supportive of a significant and fair pay rise for NHS workers – this year of all years. If the Pay Review Body accepts the government view, a pay award as poor as this would amount to only an extra £3.50 per week take-home pay for an experienced nurse. Nobody would think that is fair in the middle of a pandemic and it will do nothing to prevent the exodus from nursing.’
‘Nursing staff would feel they are being punished and made to pay for the cost of the pandemic. It is a political decision to underfund and undervalue nursing staff. Nursing deserves a 12.5% increase. Our members will be making sure the Pay Review Body understands their reality and how the award would be received.’
Health minister Nadine Dorries defended the 1% rise for NHS staff in England, saying the government could not afford to offer a higher wage increase, although she said that nurses would be paid more ‘in an ideal world’.
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‘Our members will be confused, concerned and upset that the government previously appeared to commit to a higher pay award for NHS staff relative to the 1% award being paid to other public sector workers and is now saying that is not possible,’ said Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation.
‘The government cannot surely have intended to present such mixed messages to NHS teams whilst they are continuing their efforts in response to the pandemic.’