UNISON responds to Labour’s pledge for NHS staff

Jon Ashworth, Shadow health secretary

Jon Ashworth, Shadow health secretary. Photo: Jenny Harvey

Photo: Jon Ashworth, shadow health secretary. Photo: Jenny Harvey – @Jenksy

Responding to Labour’s NHS election pledge, announced by shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth (Wednesday) in Liverpool – at UNISON’s annual health conference – UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:

“NHS staff give one hundred per cent day in, day out with many doing life-saving work. Yet they’re struggling to get by on below-inflation wages.

“Lifting the one per cent pay cap would give health employees a long overdue pay rise – and show them just how much they’re valued.

“A decent wages increase would also help ease the crisis in staff recruitment. There are too few nurses, paramedics and midwives in the NHS to deliver the best care, and this is putting patients at risk.

“NHS workers would be behind new laws that make first-class care – and not cost-cutting – a priority.

“Funding and support for students doing health-related degrees is also crucial in boosting staff numbers. The axing of bursaries was a short-sighted move that has seen student numbers plummet. It’s a policy that must be overturned.

“The NHS is a world-class institution that needs protecting, especially with Brexit looming. People should be thinking about how best to protect public services when they cast their votes in June.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON’s report Ratios Not Rationing  published this week shows that nurse understaffing is putting patients at risk.
– The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) began work into safe staffing levels in November 2013. However, this was dropped by the current government in June 2015.
– If you would like to attend UNISON’s health conference please call to arrange accreditation.

Media contacts:
Sophie Goodchild M: 07767 325595 E: s.goodchild@unison.co.uk
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: press@unison.co.uk