A proper pay rise is crucial to keep the NHS running

Paying health staff is an investment, not a cost

female cleaner in a hospital

A pay rise of at least £2,000 is crucial to retain, reward and recruit all the NHS staff that have given so much in the past year, says UNISON.

Earlier today, health workers helped UNISON present its evidence to the NHS pay review body.

This includes data from a survey of 10,000 NHS staff working across the UK outlining concerns over pay, the status of NHS employees and their confidence in the government, says UNISON.

The findings reveal that a staggering level of distrust of the government existed long before its 1% pay proposals came to light, UNISON says.

More than four in five (85%) say they are angry at how NHS staff are being treated by ministers, with only one in ten (10%) saying the government values NHS staff.

With 100,000 NHS vacancies unfilled, keeping hold of experienced staff, who train, guide and mentor new recruits, is crucial to the future of the health service, the union says.

But the survey suggests more than six in ten (64%) are questioning their future in the health service over the government’s approach to pay, says UNISON. More than half (52%) say they are considering leaving the NHS in the next year, the union adds.

Of those considering leaving, 44% want to bring forward their retirement plans and a fifth (22%) say the pandemic has made them want to leave ‘whatever happens’.

Nine in ten (91%) say a £2,000 pay increase would be a morale boost and 95% that it would make a “meaningful difference” to their lives, adds UNISON.

UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “The public values NHS staff and wants them to have a decent pay rise. It’s the time the government did too.

“The UK has been dependent on health workers during both peaks, and we are not out of the woods yet. Taking health staff for granted is unacceptable and likely to result in more gaps in teams across the UK.

“Paying all health workers a minimum of £2,000 is an investment, not a cost. Staff should be properly rewarded for the work they’ve done, and as a third wave could be approaching, the work they will continue to do.”

Notes to editors:
– Two UNISON health workers who gave evidence to the pay review body shared the reasons they think a £2,000 pay rise for all staff is deserved:
Trudie Martin from Devon has worked for the NHS for 30 years said: “Lots of colleagues in their 50s like me are feeling absolutely burned out after the pandemic and will be looking to take early retirement. A pay rise of £2,000 would give me a reason not to leave.”
Roz Norman from the East Midlands said: “Cleaners, porters, clinical staff and everyone behind the scenes have pulled together to get us through the pandemic. They deserve to be valued equally. Two thousand pounds for everyone would demonstrate the government recognises the contributions we have all made.”
– The UNISON survey ran for a month from Friday 11 December 2020 – 10,500 NHS staff took part.
– 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, private and community sectors.

Media contacts:
Garfield Myrie M: 07432 741565 E: g.myrie@unison.co.uk
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: a.barnes@unison.co.uk