Early pay rise and end to tuition fees will help nursing workforce numbers, says UNISON

Nurses must feel valued and words aren’t enough

Commenting on the Public Accounts Committee’s report into the nursing workforce published today (Wednesday), UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:

“Many nurses are exhausted after the first peak of the pandemic and now they’re facing the next wave alongside a difficult winter.

“The vital first step to stop nursing shortages worsening is an early, significant pay rise for everyone in the NHS. Staff need to know they’re valued and warm words from ministers aren’t enough.

“Removing the NHS bursary from nursing students in England has been a disaster. They played a key role during the first peak, but still face high tuition fees.

“The new maintenance grants are an important start, but the government must end student-funded fees altogether to tackle the scale of the staffing shortage.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is calling for an early pay rise of at £2,000 for all NHS staff. This would cost around £2.8bn in England (plus additional spending in the devolved administrations).
– According to UNISON/Savanta ComRes polling published in July, a majority of the public (69%) think all NHS staff should get an early pay rise. Two thirds (66%) of the public believe a wage increase for employees should be significant in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. An overwhelming majority (85%) believe pay should increase.
– Agenda for Change staff in the NHS are currently covered by a three-year pay and reform deal, due to end on 31 March 2021.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk