Government chaos must not cause further delays on NHS pay

Government chaos must not stop health workers getting immediate and fair wage increase

Ministers must act without delay to give the long-overdue wage rise that NHS staff deserve, says UNISON.

Distractions of the government’s own making are no reason to hold back the desperately needed pay increase for health workers that is already three months late, the union says.

The above-inflation pay rise demanded by unions to protect patient services should be at the top of new health secretary Stephen Barclay’s in-tray, says UNISON.

Health workers are struggling to pay their bills with prices soaring. Without an immediate and significant pay rise, staff will simply leave the NHS – which is already experiencing a staffing crisis – and find work elsewhere, the union says.

That would be a disaster with Covid cases once more on the rise, record treatment backlogs and workforce morale already at rock bottom, the union adds.

UNISON has written to Stephen Barclay today to say staff deserve to know the recommendations made by the independent NHS pay review body (PRB) as soon as possible.

UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “The government’s leadership vacuum is no excuse for further delay on putting NHS pay right. The government is already months behind its own timetable.

“Surging costs are having a terrible effect on staff and helping them should be top of the priority list for the new secretary of state, not an afterthought.

“Pay is crucial in making sure the NHS is properly staffed and able to provide the care that patients need. Giving a proper wage award will show that ministers are serious about protecting the health service and the millions who rely on it.

“It’s high time the government released the PRB reports to let nurses, healthcare assistants, porters, paramedics, cleaners and all the other vital NHS employees know if the inflation-busting pay rise they deserve will be delivered.”

UNISON’S lead committee for health will meet when Parliament closes to discuss a consultative ballot.

Notes to editors:
– UNISON’s letter to Stephen Barclay can be read here.
– NHS staff were due a pay rise on April 1.
– 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.