Scrap the cap! Unions demand end to NHS pay restraint

NHS logoUnions and health organisations representing 1.3m NHS workers have written a joint letter to the Prime Minister, calling on her to remove the pay cap.

The 1% pay cap, introduced in 2010, is scheduled to last until 2020. Unions have demanded it be scrapped immediately and the government addresses the recruitment and morale crisis caused by the 14% real-terms loss of earnings for NHS workers.

The letter reads:

The RT Hon Theresa May MP Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London

SW1A 2AA Monday 19th June

Dear Prime Minister,

By your own admission, austerity, and a lack of investment in the public sector was a signi cant factor in the general election result. Many have said that the pay freeze in the public sector was in part to blame for your failure to secure a parliamentary majority, alongside senior health leaders who agree that people who work in our NHS should be fairly rewarded for the work they do.

Organisations that represent patients and our NHS workforce are calling for the Queen’s Speech to mark a clear change in direction.

People who are working in the NHS are delivering care to the best of their ability but we are very worried that care is becoming unsafe. Our services are struggling to make do without the sta they need.

The Public Sector Pay Cap has forced professionals out of jobs they love. Those who stay are overstretched and under pressure to do ever more with less. The longstanding cap stands in the way of recruiting and retaining the best in health care. It is having a profound and detrimental e ect on standards of care for people at a time when the NHS is short of sta across every discipline. This is alongside an uncertain future for EU nationals working in health and care.

Next month, our vital national service turns 69. In its seventieth year, you have the opportunity to show the country how much you value the lives of people who work in the NHS, and the people they serve.

We call on you to prioritise patient safety by guaranteeing safe sta ng across all of our services and changing your policy on NHS pay. Government should remove the pay cap and address the real-terms loss of earnings so the NHS can retain and attract sta , resolve the workforce shortage and ensure safe patient care.

The letter states: “The Public Sector Pay Cap has forced professionals out of jobs they love. Those who stay are overstretched and under pressure to do ever more with less.”

It continues that the cap stands in the way of recruiting and retaining the best in health care and is having a profound and detrimental effect on standards of care for people at a time when the NHS is short of staff across every discipline.

NHS pay has been capped at 1 per cent or less since 2010 – leaving NHS nursing staff at least £3,000 worse off as salaries fall by 14 per cent in real-terms.

In May, the Royal College of Nursing released the results of a poll of its membership showing 9 in 10 would support industrial action. The College offered the Prime Minister a final chance to remove the cap this summer before a formal legal ballot on action later in the year.”

The letter is signed by the RCN, British Association of Occupational Therapists, British Dental Association. British Dietetic Association, BMA, British & Irish Orthoptic Society, CSP, Federation of Clinical Scientists, GMB, UNISON, Managers in Partnership, POA, RCM, SoR, The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, and Unite.

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