Bradford East’s MP, Imran Hussain has today urged the Government to boost NHS pay to help raise morale and tackle the growing crisis in waiting times for treatment in Bradford’s hospitals
According to figures compiled from NHS England data by UNISON, in March 2021 there are almost 30,000 people still waiting for treatment across the Bradford Teaching Hospital NHS Trust’s estate, with close to 9,000 waiting more than 18 weeks and just over 2,000 waiting for over a year.
Whilst the Coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the waiting list, with cancelled surgeries and reduced operations, so too has the growing staff shortages in the NHS across the country, with a reported shortage of 84,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff, of which 38,000 vacancies are nurses, representing 1 in 10 vacant posts. As a result of these vacancies, the resources available in hospitals are unable to meet the demand for care and treatment.
However, rather than ensure that NHS staff are valued in their roles and rewarded for their work during the pandemic, the Government have set out a pay rise of just 1%, despite over half of NHS staff stating that such a small rise would make it more likely that they will leave the NHS. Around 9 in 10 NHS staff also state that staff retention will deteriorate further if pay rises are restricted.
Imran is therefore calling on the Chancellor to scrap plans for a 1% pay rise and instead fund a proper pay rise for NHS staff this summer, paid for by pushing for a higher global minimum corporation tax at the G7 summit, to prevent the further loss of experienced staff and help tackle the growing waiting list for treatment in Bradford.
Speaking on low morale in the NHS and long waiting lists for treatment in Bradford, Imran said:
“Over the past year our NHS staff have proven what a credit they are, but under this Government, they are overworked, underpaid and badly valued. As a result, far too many eager and experienced but burnt out staff members are leaving because of the stresses placed on them, leaving our hospitals badly understaffed.
“These staff are as integral to our healthcare system as hospitals, clinics and ambulances are, so poor morale and poor staffing levels result in poorer healthcare and longer waiting times. We must therefore ensure we retain more NHS staff and ensure that an NHS career is a viable path that does not leave staff chewed out, starting with an increase to the measly pay rise the Government offered.
“Not only would increasing NHS pay boost morale and help keep experienced staff, ensuring that staff can reduce waiting times, but it would also bring more money into Bradford’s private sector economy, which we badly need as we emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic.
“In a place like Bradford with a high level of existing health inequalities, lengthened waiting lists also make existing problems far worse for everyone, and if we really are to be ‘levelling up’ the country as the Prime Minister repeatedly promises, the Government should start by levelling up healthcare, cutting waiting lists and boosting NHS staff pay.”