Staff discontent shows government must act on NHS pay, says UNISON

New figures show huge plummet in NHS staff satisfaction

Commenting on the latest annual NHS staff survey published today (Wednesday), UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “On any measure these figures are alarming. The scale of staff disillusionment and concerns about standards of care should be a huge blue flashing light for the government.

“A dramatic drop in satisfaction with pay in just a year bears out everything unions have warned. Without an urgent and significant wage rise, NHS staff will simply walk for better pay and less stress elsewhere, which is a disaster for patient care.

“But unhappiness extends across the board. Staff are feeling less valued, their work is increasingly unrecognised and they’re not allowed to progress in their jobs.

“The pandemic backlog in the NHS will take years to fix. If staff are leaving in droves, it will take longer, leaving patients in pain and distress and causing the public to lose faith in the NHS even further.

“Waiting lists will only reduce if staff stay in their jobs and people join the health workforce. That requires swift action on pay and an urgent retention package.

“With household bills going through the roof and staff being hit by hospital parking charges, nurses, porters, paramedics, cleaners, healthcare assistants and all other vital employees will be thinking long and hard about their futures in the NHS.

“The government must ensure they stay by showing they’re valued.”

Notes to editors:
– The 2021 NHS staff survey found:

  • Only 32.7% satisfied with pay, a drop of four percentage points from 2020 (36.7%).
  • Only half of staff of staff were satisfied with the recognition they get for good work, a decline of more than five percentage points compared with 2020 (57.2%).
  • Fewer than three in five staff (59.4%) would recommend their employer as a place to work to family or friends. This has declined by more than 7% in a year.
  • Under three in ten (27.2%) felt there were sufficient staff in their organisation for them to do their job properly, a decline of 11% year on year.
  • Only half (55.5%) felt their organisation acts fairly over career progression or promotion.

– 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.