Two in five people in the UK back an immediate pay rise for NHS staff, while over two thirds are supportive of a pay rise happening this calendar year, a new poll has found.
The poll, conducted by ComRes on behalf of UNISON found that the vast majority of the country (85%) back a pay increase in some form for NHS staff when they are next offered a new pay deal by the government.
Women are bigger backers than men of an increase in pay for NHS staff, with three in ten (30%) backing a large increase as opposed to just a quarter (24%) of men. Support for a 2020 pay rise was highest among younger adults aged 18-34 (74%), ahead of those aged 35-54 (69%) or 55+ (65%).
‘These figures should cause ministers to wake up to the strength of public feeling – the government must urgently bring forward discussions and a resulting pay rise for NHS staff. Asking them to wait to 2021 is unacceptable,’ said Dame Donna Kinnair, RCN Chief Executive.
‘Worryingly, our recent survey of nursing staff showed that more than a third were considering leaving the profession – with pay cited far more than any other reason. Urgent action is needed to address staff shortages – which are at a critical level.’
Healthcare staff are currently in the final year of a three-year deal. They are due a pay rise next April, but unions have asked the government to bring this forward. However, the government failed to commit to an early pay rise last week when wage increases for 900,000 workers elsewhere in the public sector were announced.
‘It’s clear the public backs an early increase and to ignore them would be at the government’s own peril. Any attempt to deny staff a significant wage increase could rebound badly,’ said UNISON head of health Sara Gorton.
‘A wage increase needs sorting right away so the NHS is fit to face the winter ahead and all that may bring. It would help boost the economy too, as health workers spend the extra money in their pockets locally.’