Joint union letter on pay

15 January 2021

Dear Prime Minister,

The critical situation everyone dreaded is now upon the NHS.    

Hospitals are stretched to the limit with surging COVID admissions, ambulances are waiting for hours to hand over the sick and the risk that intensive care units could soon run out of beds is now all too real.  

Staff are also having to tackle the ever-growing queue of patients waiting to start treatment.    

The chief medical officer professor Chris Whitty has admitted that trusts are facing the most dangerous situation anyone can remember.   

There’s no guarantee either that our health service has hit its winter or virus peak, which means worse may yet come.   

Staff are determined, but may end up burned out or leaving the NHS if they are expected to continue with such an excessive workload and shortages of staff  

They are demoralised and traumatised, with some struggling to get through their shifts.     

Staff shortages mean our health workers are having to cover for multiple colleagues who are off sick with COVID. Or simply exhausted by the demands of working on intensive care units full to capacity and of patients dying.     

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has promised health staff a pay rise. But not until after the NHS pay review body has submitted its report in May.   

We are calling on you to speed up this process and grant a fully funded, early and significant wage increase now, without any needless further delay.  

The majority of the public want this to happen, and it makes economic sense as this would provide a much-needed boost for businesses including hospitality and retail when the lockdown begins to ease and we have released independent economic analysis on this today. 

More importantly, a significant increase would help staff feel appreciated, assist with much-needed recruitment and encourage health workers to think again about leaving the NHS.    

This is about protecting the health service now and for many years to come. The future of the country’s health and that of the NHS is in your hands.   

Now is the time to do the right thing. To show our health workers the government cares as much about us as it does about our patients.    

Yours sincerely     

Christina McAnea     
UNISON general secretary elect      

Donna Kinnair   
Royal College of Nursing chief executive and general secretary   

Gill Walton     
Royal College of Midwives chief executive  

Page last updated - 18/01/2021