Getting pay right is key to turning around NHS fortunes, says UNISON

Workforce plan isn’t enough on its own to solve staffing crisis

Commenting on the National Audit Office report on the NHS long-term workforce plan, UNISON head of health Helga Pile said today (Friday):

“Simply having a plan isn’t going to be enough on its own to turn the staffing crisis around. Wishful thinking won’t get the NHS very far either.

“The assumption that overseas staff will want to keep coming here to fill the gaps in the workforce is wildly optimistic. Especially given the increasingly hostile environment fostered by the government.

“Getting pay right is key to turning around the fortunes of the NHS, its staff and patients, and slashing the backlog too. Ensuring decent wages, manageable workloads, workplaces that are free of harassment and discrimination, and truly flexible jobs is what will make a huge difference. Experienced staff will then be more likely to stay and recruitment rates soar.

“But when it comes to pay, ministers are already failing. NHS staff should be getting this year’s wage rise in less than two weeks. They won’t though, because the government’s chosen the lengthy review body process over direct talks with health unions.

“Unless there’s a new approach to staff wages, much of the workforce plan will remain pie-in-the-sky thinking.”

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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