Nothing for worn-out NHS staff who’ve kept us safe in the pandemic, say health unions

Golden opportunity wasted to reward NHS staff

Unions representing NHS staff across the UK say the chancellor has let down hard-working health workers by failing to announce a pay rise for them in the Budget.

UNISON head of health Sara Gorton, who also chairs the NHS group of unions, said: “The chancellor had a golden opportunity to show the government values exhausted health staff with the pay rise they deserve. But he has let them down, and the public.

“They should be recognised and rewarded immediately. Not left waiting for months on a promise.

“The NHS faces an exodus after the pandemic as staff leave. A wage increase would boost morale and the economy.”

Royal College of Nursing national officer Hannah Reed, secretary of the NHS group of unions, said: “Nursing staff and other NHS workers needed to hear a clear commitment from the chancellor that he’s willing to act on their call for a significant rise.

“His failure to listen leaves even more contemplating their futures and only adds to the nurse staffing crisis. These delays send the worst possible message to staff who are still giving their all.”

Royal College of Midwives executive director of external relations Jon Skewes, treasurer of the NHS group of unions, said: “We hope the silence from the chancellor on NHS pay in today’s Budget is not a sign of government inaction on a fair rise for all NHS workers.

“NHS staff have been on the frontline fighting this pandemic and it’s about time the government acknowledges their commitment with a decent wage increase.”

Notes to editors:
– Health workers are currently in the final year of a three-year deal. They’re due a pay rise in April but unions have been campaigning for the government to show its appreciation for NHS employees by bringing that forward. The government failed to commit to this last summer when wage increases for 900,000 workers elsewhere in the public sector were announced. A rise has now been promised by the chancellor but not until after the formal NHS pay review body reports back in May. This is likely to mean that NHS staff will not get a pay rise until July at the earliest, say the unions. Health secretary Matt Hancock has also said the increase must be determined by ‘affordability’ and Rishi Sunak has warned of restraint in future public sector pay awards.
– The 14 NHS unions are: British Association of Occupational Therapists, British Dietetic Association, British and Irish Orthoptic Society, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, College of Podiatry, Federation of Clinical Scientists, GMB, Managers in Partnership, Prison Officers Association, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing, Society of Radiographers, UNISON and Unite.

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