NHS' 75th birthday - 'staff must be valued not undermined'

Unite demands staff are properly valued as NHS reaches 75 years

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Unite is demanding that the NHS’ staff are valued and not undermined to ensure its long-term success.

Latest figures show that there are 112,000 vacancies in the NHS and its recruitment crisis is worsening. The NHS’ own staff satisfaction survey shows that three quarters of respondents are unhappy with their level of pay. Meanwhile, 43 per cent of respondents would not recommend their organisation as a place of work.

A recent confidential survey of Unite members employed in the NHS demonstrated how staff shortages was directly impacting on patient safety. In total, 48 per cent of respondents said that in the last 12 months staff shortages had regularly resulted in patient care being compromised or unsafe. The figure for ambulance workers was 57 per cent and for nurses 59 per cent.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Hardworking dedicated staff are what makes the NHS the success that it is. They need to be valued and not undermined. On the NHS’ 75th birthday that message needs to be shouted from the rooftops.

“For over a decade, the government has failed to support NHS staff,” she added. “This self-inflicted failure by government of failing to invest and pay its staff fairly for more than ten years has created an existential threat, with workers who have dedicated their lives to the NHS leaving in droves.

“NHS workers are the organisation’s greatest strength and we cannot have a successful healthcare system without them. Staff shortages are directly impacting on the quality of care patients are receiving. The simplest and best way to protect the longterm success of the NHS is to invest in its staff.”

Unite NHS members in England have rejected the government’s pay offer and workers are continuing to take industrial action on a targeted basis. The union is currently balloting an increased number of members to join the dispute, which is focussed on both pay and safe staffing.

By Barckley Sumner