Fix for NHS pay must be ‘at heart’ of any workforce solution, says UNISON 

Action on retention is key.

Commenting on the publication of the NHS workforce plan, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:

“At long last there is a plan. Now everyone committed to making the NHS thrive again can focus on the challenge of filling the huge gaps in the workforce.

“Action on retention is key. There are simply too few staff across all jobs and services. That makes it difficult for the NHS to function as a modern health system.

“Finding a fix for pay must lie at the heart of any solution. The pay review body process no longer works.

“A new way to ensure competitive wage rises, that are paid to staff on time, is essential if there is to be an end to the industrial unrest plaguing the NHS.

“Plans to recruit more doctors and nurses cannot ignore the desperate NHS shortage of porters, cleaners, 999 call handlers and other support roles. Staff in non-clinical jobs are most at risk of being lost from the NHS for better paid, less stressful jobs elsewhere.

“The absence of proposals to mend social care is perhaps the biggest gap. Without action to fix care, the NHS will have to go on picking up the pieces of that broken system. There must be a national care service that mirrors the NHS.

“Increasing apprenticeships and nursing associate numbers are important aims as is growing the domestic workforce. They must be backed up with proper funding and infrastructure support.”

Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union and the largest union in the NHS and in the ambulance sector, 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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