AN ANALYSIS by the Health Foundation shows that soaring inflation means NHS staff face an average pay cut of £845 during 2021-22 and will see their income shrink by even more in 2022-23.
Staff lost at least £845 on average, although for some this was as much as £1,690, because their 3% pay rise was outstripped by inflation as measured by the consumer prices index, which hit 5.5% in February. They were awarded the 3% last summer when inflation stood at 1.6%.
They are facing an even bigger drop in real-terms income in 2022-23 because while ministers have offered them 3% again, the Bank of England has forecast inflation to rise to as much as 8% soon.
‘NHS staff are already consumed by money worries when they’re at work giving vital care. These figures show why,’ said Sara Gorton, the head of health at the union Unison.
‘Health workers need a wage rise that helps them absorb the eye-watering bill increases ahead. Otherwise they’ll leave for better-paid work, which will be a disaster for patients.’
Patricia Marquis, the Royal College of Nursing’s director for England, said: ‘This analysis is staggering and will give our members even greater worries about meeting the rising cost of living.
‘The expert analysts are telling government this is likely to lead to NHS staff losses and we know thousands of nursing staff are feeling close to quitting. It is patients who pay the price for the government’s shortsightedness.’
Unison says that after more than a decade of pay restraint, many workers have already trimmed all they can from their household budgets.
There’s nothing left to cut says Unison.
Frontline staff are facing real-terms pay cut, as soaring inflation drives prices through the roof and the scrapping of free lateral flow tests for millions of people adds extra costs to household budgets.
Staff, including health workers, teaching assistants, refuse collectors, hospital cleaners and care workers, still reeling from the shock of helping the nation cope with the pandemic, will be clobbered again, Unison says.
Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said: ‘The government seems to have no idea of the enormity of the problems faced by ordinary people. They’re sliding into poverty in huge numbers while ministers simply sit back and watch. Hard-working people and families are desperate for a lifeline.
‘It’s shameful that people doing high skilled, high-value jobs on which everyone depends, don’t get paid enough to meet their basic costs. Ministers are levelling down, not up.
‘Successive Westminster governments have chipped away at public sector pay. Now staff are desperate, the government is offering little to lessen the pain. People don’t need tax cuts in two years, they want real help now.
‘Wage rises that outstrip inflation are a must. Unlike previous years, skilled workers have options and many will leave for better paid work if their employers don’t offer them a decent pay rise.
‘For the public sector that’s a disaster if there aren’t the staff to maintain essential services. Their pay mustn’t be allowed to slip further behind the cost-of-living.’