Midwife Pam Conaghy on strike in October 2014 by Tim Lezard UNISON has written to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt urging him to re-think his NHS pay policy ahead of the announcement of another five-year NHS reform programme. The letter, in which the union …

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Midwife Pam Conaghy on strike in October 2014

Midwife Pam Conaghy on strike in October 2014

by Tim Lezard

UNISON has written to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt urging him to re-think his NHS pay policy ahead of the announcement of another five-year NHS reform programme.

The letter, in which the union repeats its offer to engage in constructive discussions, follows Monday’s four-hour strike by NHS workers, which is followed by workers taking action short of strike action for the rest of this week, which involves staff taking their breaks. Members working in the ambulance service will not undertake voluntary overtime.

In the letter, UNISON’s Head of Health Christina McAnea calls on the Health Secretary to work with the union to ensure the NHS is properly funded.

She writes: “Members have been telling you that patient care is now compromised by plunging morale and increasing recruitment and retention problems.  It is not in the interests of patients that many staff have to work additional hours or take a second job just to make ends meet.

“You continue to state that the NHS faces a stark choice between pay and jobs but the evidence just is not there to support that. The NHS pay cap has been in place since 2009 and jobs continue to be lost.  It is possible to have a properly funded NHS with enough staff who are paid fairly for the vital work they do – and yesterday has shown that the public agrees with us.

“What staff want to see is a return to a shared understanding that a strong, fair and flexible pay system underpins a successful NHS.  Healthcare staff want to contribute to a service that is fit for purpose in the 21st century, not face another seismic change that fails to deliver a better NHS.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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