Shocking statistics and accounts of NHS workers being pushed into hardship are increasing.
Since 2010 the Tory government have capped their pay. This has meant some have lost 14% if not more in their wage packets.
In a Unison survey of 21,000 NHS workers it was discovered that 49% said they had to seek financial help from friends or family in the last year alone because of financial hardship. This includes nurses, midwives, hospital administrators, domestic and catering staff.
Shockingly the survey also found that 10% of respondants had resorted to using pay day loans and 11% to pawning posessions just to be able to get by. The most saddening statistic is that 1% stated they had visited food banks in the last year.
A perfect storm
It comes as no suprise that 52% had thought about quitting.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) produced their annual labour review last week, which found 10.4% leaving rate in the last year comparible with a 8.9% joining rate to the profession. Furthermore up to half of the nursing workforce are due for retirement in the next year.
During the spending review last year the Tories decided to scrap student bursaries and saddle student nurses, midwives and asosciated healthcare professionals with debts of over £50k. This decision has been deemed as a deternet to students and may only contribute to the staffing crisis which includes a shortage of 25,000 nurses.
The RCN have also highlighted how its members are feeling the harsh brunt of the pay restraint. On their Facebook page one member stated:
“I’m constantly worried about how I will put food on the table – we’ve already cut down on expensive essentials like fruit and meat. I apply for food parcels for my patients, while at the same time wishing I could have one for my own family.”
Enough is enough
A number of unions submitted their response to the NHS pay review body regarding the pay offer next March. Together they have demanded an end to the crippling pay restraint. Yet the Department of Health response to the increasing amount of issues states:
"The dedication and sheer hard work of our NHS staff is absolutely crucial to delivering world-class care for patients.
"The Government has had to take difficult decisions over the public finances, but we will continue to fund public sector pay awards, including for NHS staff, at an average of 1% next year."
Yet it is the 1% pay restraint which has caused so many to be pushed into significant hardship. Morale is at an all time low. Staff are becoming increasingly unhappy at the distinct lack of respect and value for the NHS workforce. Whether the Tory government listen to workers and unions concerns remains to be seen, but now we must get behind our NHS staff.
It is time to fight back.