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Nurses accuse government of ‘emotional blackmail’ over pay deal

Health leaders say they may have to decide between fair wages for staff or providing cancer care as government refuses to meet full cost of funding 5% wages rise

Health leaders say they may have to decide between fair wages for staff and cutting cancer care as government refuses to meet full cost of funding 5% wages rise

Nurses have accused the government of ‘emotional blackmail’ over a fair pay rise, as health leaders warned cancer care could suffer if staff are paid more.

It comes as the Treasury has reportedly refused to increase its funding for the health service payroll.

Nurses express anger at lack of funding for fair pay deal

While nurses and other NHS workers are expected to be offered a pay rise of 5% this week by the government,

Health leaders say they may have to decide between fair wages for staff and cutting cancer care as government refuses to meet full cost of funding 5% wages rise

Pictures shows scales with health staff on one side and money on the other
Picture: iStock

Nurses have accused the government of ‘emotional blackmail’ over a fair pay rise, as health leaders warned cancer care could suffer if staff are paid more.

It comes as the Treasury has reportedly refused to increase its funding for the health service payroll.

Nurses express anger at lack of funding for fair pay deal

While nurses and other NHS workers are expected to be offered a pay rise of 5% this week by the government, according to the FT, the Treasury reportedly said it would only fund 3% of the bill as laid out in the annual budget.

Nurses have accused the government of emotional blackmail, as NHS leaders say they might have to choose between cancer and primary care and paying staff a fair wage.

Posting on the Nursing Standard Facebook page, one nurse said: ‘Emotional blackmail – has their pay rise put paid to other services? Is teachers’ 9% pay rise going to mean pupils go without books and equipment?’

Another commented: ‘Emotional blackmail yet again. If the NHS cannot afford to pay its staff properly then there will be no one to offer these services to in the first place.'

And another said: ‘This means one of two things – either they want to start a moral war pitting nurses against cancer patients OR the hike in national insurance wasn’t about investing the money into the NHS as was first advertised, but was instead designed to pay for other things, like, oh I dunno, Brexit for example.

‘Either way, healthcare staff are getting screwed again.’

NHS facing £2.5 billion real-term funding cut

In an NHS England board meeting on 7 July, chief financial officer Julian Kelly warned that ‘the coffers were empty’ and without more funding from the government the NHS would face some ‘difficult decisions’.

Mr Kelly said the NHS was facing a real-term cut in funding by £2.5 billion, the first cut of its kind since before 1997, or even possibly 1950s.

He insisted that soaring inflation and continuing COVID-19 cases were leaving finances in a ‘stretching position.’

In the meeting, NHS England and Improvement chief executive Amanda Pritchard said that ‘it is not just essential that staff are recognised and rewarded’, but an ‘operational necessity’ for recruitment and retention.

The government would not confirm whether extra funding would be made available to the NHS in the event of a pay offer above 3%.

However, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: ‘The government wants a fair pay deal for nurses, doctors and the taxpayer, and is carefully considering the recommendations from the independent pay review bodies.’


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