Defending Fair Pay for NHS staff

Inspiring, because of the amazing commitment our nursing staff and health care workers continue to show to their professions; enraging, because of the way they are being treated by a government that is sending out a very clear message - that they don't value them at all.

The independent pay review body recommended that nurses and health care support workers should get the 1% cost of living increase, which last year the Government said was affordable.

Now the Government has done a U-turn and said "no" to this.

Instead the Department of Health has announced a 1% 'non-consolidated' pay award for those NHS staff on the top of their pay bands.  

That means those staff who are not yet at the top of their band will get no increase from 1 April.

The staff I met told me how difficult it was to make ends meet.

This year's pay announcement comes nowhere near matching increases in the cost of living.

No wonder so many are feeling demoralised and demotivated - and that recruitment is proving so difficult.

And it's a myth that the pay rise is unaffordable - last year the NHS in England underspent by £3bn - that money went straight back to the Treasury - not into pay or patient services.

The massive and unwanted NHS reorganisation is also costing £3bn - money which would have been much better spent on patient services and jobs.

That's why I was pleased to sign the RCN petition, and will continue to lobby Parliament for proper funding for the NHS to deliver a settlement which begins to reinstate the value of NHS pay lost since 2010 and pays at least the Living Wage.

The public deserves a quality NHS - and staff deserve to be properly valued and rewarded for the vital work they do.

All hospitals should have enough staff to ensure patients are safe, with a workforce that is properly trained and equipped to deliver quality healthcare.


Image: Caroline with Margaret Vidler, who will have been in nursing for 40 years this coming September (credit: James Macdonald).


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