Miserly government NHS pay proposal won’t clear the backlog or help patients, says UNISON


Pay proposal is a wage cut in all but name

Commenting on the government’s submission today (Wednesday) to the NHS pay review body recommending a ​maximum pay rise of 3% this year for health workers in England, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:

“This tight-fisted proposal ​falls well short of rising costs and staff hopes​. It’s barely half the rate of inflation, which is far from peaking and won’t for many more months.

​“This will go down like a lead balloon with health workers struggling to fill up at the pump, buy groceries and pay bills. It would be a wage cut in all but name.

“Nurses, healthcare assistants, hospital porters and others have borne a heavy responsibility during the pandemic. Now government expects the NHS team to work miracles with the Covid backlog, despite the growing staffing void.

“The government’s told private firms struggling to recruit to pay premium wages. ​But ministers ​aren’t prepared to do the same for the NHS. Holding down ​health worker wages won’t stop the inflation spiral. But it would mean floods of NHS ​staff quitting for less stressful, more lucrative jobs. ​

“Staff feel so dispirited, many already have one foot out the door. This substandard amount will convince many it’s time to part company with the NHS.

“Without ​the emergency fix ​proposed, thousands of the lowest paid health workers would have been earning illegal wages when the minimum hourly rate increases to £9.50 in April. Everyone working in health should be on at least the real living wage.

“The Chancellor and the Prime Minister must do far better and come up with enough cash for a proper wage rise that stems the staffing flight and ensures safe, quality care for patients.”

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