Leeds NHS and hospital workers criticise Government's 'pathetic' three per cent pay rise

NHS workers in Leeds have criticised the Government's "pathetic" offer of a three per cent pay rise.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 4:45 am

The Government was already under attack for previously recommending a one per cent pay rise, despite the incredible pressure NHS staff have been under.

An expected Commons statement at lunchtime on Wednesday, July 21 failed to materialise, but a few hours later the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) issued a press release saying a three per cent rise will be paid, backdated to April.

NHS staff and supporters had held an earlier protest in Millennium Square, demonstrating against the one per cent rise and calling to an end to privatisation.

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NHS staff and supporters protesting in Millennium Square earlier this month.

Union groups in Leeds said the three per cent rise is still not enough, calling it a "kick in the teeth" and said it will not reverse current pressures on NHS staff.

UNISON Branch Chair for Leeds Teaching Hospitals, John Ingleson, said: "The branch has been contacted by a variety of members from the full range of pay bands and job roles appalled by the three per cent announcement.

"They know that this pathetic offer will not reverse the staffing crisis we all suffer from.

"Skilled workers will go elsewhere, and the NHS as a whole will suffer.

"I have been honoured to witness my colleagues professionalism and bravery throughout the many months of this crisis.

"Unfortunately they are all now mentally exhausted."

Mr Ingleson added: "This pay deal was the Government's opportunity to relieve the fatigue by showing they care and to show they want to fix the nationwide short staffing.

"This is a kick in the guts to my friends and my colleagues.

"To those people who believed the Tory 2019 election promises, remember the slogan 'deeds not words'.

"They promise the world whilst in practice they continue to destroy public services with their wilful neglect of the workforce."

Lead Organiser for Nurses United and registered Leeds nurse, Anthony Johnson, said: "At a time when we can see this Government has managed to let Coronavirus get out of control again, they are deciding to open up our society to new and deadly strains.

"Our nurses deserve better than to be treated like this.

"A year of unsafe PPE, a shoddy test and trace system, plans to riddle our NHS with privatisation through their white paper and now they reward nurses with a pay offer that won’t stop them using foodbanks or seeing their colleagues continue to leave in their thousands?

"We need our frontline nurses and our NHS ready for the task ahead and that is why we all need to step up and demand better from this Government.”

The Royal College of Midwives’ executive director for external affairs and one of the NHS Unions chief negotiators, Jon Skewes, said: “At least the limbo our hardworking members were left in by our shambolic Government has ended.

“We are disappointed that maternity staff in England will not receive a headline increase of 4% like their colleagues in Scotland.

“Through our evidence to the Pay Review Body, we managed to secure more than the 1% proposed by the Government, but again this is not backdated far enough or on par with the pay award in Scotland.”

The HCSA, the hospital doctors’ union, said it will meet in emergency session to discuss its response to a government pay offer.

HCSA president Dr Claudia Paoloni said: “This offer represents an improvement on the low bar the Government itself set earlier in the year, but is an insult to junior doctors who have once again received a lesser rise than their senior colleagues.

“These are doctors who have stood side by side with NHS colleagues in mounting the Covid response, rising to every challenge placed before them.

“These Consultants of the future will rightly feel aggrieved that once again they have been singled out for worse treatment, ignoring their efforts during this pandemic.

“We fear that given rampant inflation this offer will also be insufficient to address the looming impact on career choices among all grades after the long battle against Covid, which has caused many hospital doctors to reconsider their future, either by cutting hours or leaving the profession altogether. One in 10 are considering leaving permanently.”

The DHSC said the “average nurse” will receive an additional £1,000 a year, while many porters and cleaners will get around £540.

The pay rise will be paid to the majority of NHS staff in England including nurses, paramedics, consultants, dentists and salaried GPs.

It does not cover doctors and dentists in training.

The Government confirmed on Thursday, July 22 that there will be no new money to fund the pay rise for NHS staff in England.

No 10 said the rise would come out of the existing health service’s budget.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “The pay uplift will be funded from within the NHS budget but we are very clear that it will not impact funding already earmarked for the NHS front line.

“You will already know that we gave the NHS a historical settlement in 2018, which saw its budget rise by £33.9 billion by 2023/24 and we’ve provided £92 billion to support the NHS and social care throughout the pandemic.”