An immediate increase to pay for NHS nurses and other staff would encourage them to stay in the NHS, a joint letter signed by leading health unions has stated.
The letter coincides with the results of a poll published by the UK’s 14 health unions showing a majority of the public (53%) think the government should bring forward a wage increase for all NHS staff. The results of the poll of more than 2,000 people also highlight how the majority of people (86%) back some level of pay rise, with 40% supporting a significant increase.
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‘NHS staff are worse off now than 10 years ago. When tens of thousands of nursing jobs are vacant, the government cannot afford to let more leave over low pay. A meaningful rise will bring in new nursing staff and keep experienced ones in post,’ said RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary Dame Donna Kinnair.
The letter outlines how health workers are having to provide cover for multiple colleagues who are off sick with COVID-19 or simply burned out by the experience of intensive care units reaching full capacity and of patients dying. It also outlines the economic benefit of giving a substantial pay rise to all staff including healthcare assistants, nurses, hospital porters, physiotherapists, midwives, dieticians, paramedics, occupational therapists and cleaners.
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‘It’s in the Prime Minister’s gift to speed up the pay review process,’ said UNISON head of health Sara Gorton. ‘A wage rise won’t stop the virus. But it will show exhausted staff the government cares as much about them as it does about their patients.’
‘Over a million people work in the NHS. Putting extra money in their pockets would not just acknowledge and recognise their hard work, it would also put cash into struggling local economies and help families at a time when many will be facing mounting financial difficulties,’ said Executive director for external relations at the Royal College of Midwives Jon Skewes.