Government should focus on solving NHS crisis with proper pay not penalties for staff

Ministers are picking fights with workers to divert attention to failings

Responding to reports that the government is to announce legislation to penalise public sector workers if they strike, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:

“The public and health staff would welcome minimum staffing levels in the NHS every day of the week. That way, people wouldn’t be lying in agony on A&E floors or dying in the backs of ambulances.

“But limiting legal staffing levels to strike days and threatening to sack or fine health workers when there are record vacancies in the NHS show proper patient care isn’t what ministers want.

“The government is picking ill-advised fights with NHS employees and their unions to mask years of dismal failure to tackle pay and staffing.

“There’s a much simpler way for Rishi Sunak to put a swift end to strikes in the NHS. That’s to allow his ministers to begin pay talks immediately to boost wages, retain experienced staff and improve patient care.”

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 the public, voluntary and private sectors.

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