Extra support for NHS staff welcome but high vacancy levels don’t help, says UNISON

Allowing proper recovery time important too

Commenting on the NHS England £15m package of extra mental health support for staff announced today (Tuesday), UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:

“Extra support for hard-pressed NHS staff will be gratefully received everywhere. Winters are difficult at the best of times, but the combination of colder months and a pandemic takes the pressure to a whole new level.

“Memories of the first Covid wave are still fresh, so there’s much anxiety about what’s coming next. Once again, the country is relying upon the entire NHS team to save lives and keep people safe, but they’re not super-human.

“Removing the stigma of mental health and recognising that staff need time off to recover is important. But with vacancies still running high, finding colleagues to cover, simply adds additional stress.

“Giving NHS staff an early, and significant, pay rise now would help trusts attract new recruits, reducing pressures at a stroke. It’s the perfect time for the government to show how much it values the entire NHS workforce.”

Notes to editors​:
– 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 both the public and private sectors.

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