An immediate pay rise would reassure undervalued staff to stay in NHS, says UNISON Scotland. A huge majority of NHS staff say the Scottish government doesn’t value their extraordinary efforts during the pandemic, according to a new UNISON survey.
As health workers come under increasing strain because of the rise in infections and hospital admissions, many say they are considering their future in the NHS, the survey finds.
The UNISON survey reveals that health workers feel deeply dissatisfied with their treatment. Seven out of ten (70%) say they are angry about how the Scottish government has treated NHS staff.
Almost half (45%) say they are considering leaving the NHS; three in ten (29%) are seriously considering leaving and five per cent say they are leaving whatever happens. Just under half (45%) say they want to bring forward their retirement plans.
Just under a third of health workers (31%) said they have had to borrow money from family; four per cent have taken out a payday loan and six per cent have had to make a new benefits claim.
More than 1,200 health service staff from across Scotland took part in the research, which has also been used as part of evidence submitted by UNISON to the NHS pay review body. The union is calling on the government to give all NHS workers a pay rise of at least £2,000.
Many staff are at breaking point says UNISON, often working long back-to-back shifts to deal with worsening staff shortages and packed hospitals as infections soar.
A pay rise would provide reassurance and comfort to staff and help them feel more valued, the survey shows. Almost two thirds (61%) say NHS pay is an important issue in their workplace.
According to the survey, a pay rise awarded now would reassure many that their efforts are being recognised. Almost nine in ten (88%) say it would boost their morale.
Willie Duffy, UNISON Scotland’s head of health, said: “The Scottish government needs to invest in pay to help turn the disillusionment of staff around. While its commitment to pay a £500 ‘bonus’ to staff is a welcome acknowledgement of the extraordinary efforts of health workers, it is not the full pay rise they deserve.
“Our NHS staff are beyond exhausted and feel let down by politicians who expect health workers to give everything but show them little in return.
“A rise of £2,000 as soon as possible would persuade many NHS staff to stay and encourage others to consider a career in health.
“We’re calling on the Scottish government to fulfil its commitment to a speedy settlement of the 2021/22 pay deal so we can get money into the pockets of our hardworking NHS staff as soon as possible.
“Extra money in their pockets will mean more spending in local economies, giving a huge boost to the recovery when the lockdown begins to ease.”
Notes to editors:
– Health workers across the UK are nearing the end of a three-year pay deal. They should be due a pay rise in April, but UNISON and other health unions want this brought forward to show appreciation for NHS employees.
-The NHS pay review body is not due to report until May, and devolved governments can’t act sooner as they are reliant on funding decisions based on this process. This means that NHS staff are not likely to get a pay rise until June at the earliest, says UNISON.
-The UNISON survey was a UK wide survey with more than 10,000 health workers across the UK taking part. The full UK survey report can be accessed here.
UNISON Scotland contacts
Willie Duffy, head of health, on 07904 342 129
Danny Phillips, communications officer 07944 664110