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One in five NHS staff looking for new job as living costs soar

Only an inflation-busting pay rise would persuade most to stay as unions say situation worsening by the week and more staff are falling into debt

Only an inflation-busting pay rise would persuade most to stay as unions say situation worsening by the week and more staff are falling into debt

One in five NHS workers are either looking for a new job or are set to leave for better-paid positions as the cost of living soars and pay fails to keep pace.

Of those considering leaving, most said an inflation-busting pay rise would persuade them to stay.

A report from health unions found the situation was worsening by the week , with more staff falling into debt

Only an inflation-busting pay rise would persuade most to stay as unions say situation worsening by the week and more staff are falling into debt

More nursing staff are falling into debt and turning to food banks to feed their families
More nursing staff are turning to food banks to feed their families. Picture: Alamy

One in five NHS workers are either looking for a new job or are set to leave for better-paid positions as the cost of living soars and pay fails to keep pace.

Of those considering leaving, most said an inflation-busting pay rise would persuade them to stay.

A report from health unions found the situation was worsening by the week, with more staff falling into debt and turning to food banks to feed their families.

‘I have considered getting a job in retail as it would be less stress and I would be better off financially. Something has to change’

Laura, trainee nursing associate

Of the more than 2,000 healthcare workers – including nurses – surveyed by the unions, 80% said they would quit the NHS over concerns about their pay.

‘We’re caring for patients, but who is caring for the staff?’

The survey was part of a campaign representing 13 NHS health unions, including the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), Unison, Unite, and the GMB.

Responding to the survey, nurse Adele said: ‘I work with people just like myself, who cannot afford to pay their bills. It isn’t acceptable, we’re caring for patients, but who is caring for the staff?

‘I don’t feel as though staff are valued or rewarded for their hard work. It is devastating that we’re breaking our backs caring for patients and it also feels as though we’re not allowed to speak about the issues.’

Trainee nursing associate Laura said she is left choosing between paying bills and eating some months.

‘I do 13-hour shifts and work 37.5 hours a week and I am a full-time student apprentice. I come out with £1,200 a month after being scorned by the increase of tax and national insurance.

‘I cannot afford to pay my bills most months, so I have to decide what is more important, my energy bill, food shopping, keeping up with mortgage payments? I have considered getting a job in retail as it would be less stress and I would be better off financially. Something has to change.’

Ministers must find cash to invest in an urgent retention package, says union

The Government has advised the NHS Pay Review Body (RB) that nurses should be given a maximum 3% pay rise in 2022-23, claiming anything more would compromise the NHS’s ability to tackle its treatment backlog.

Unison’s head of health, Sara Gorton, said: ‘Without a significant pay rise, under-pressure health workers won’t stick around. That’ll make delays and cancellations a whole lot worse.

‘Ministers must find the cash to invest in an urgent retention package, starting with a pay rise to deal with the cost of living crisis. That’s the way to ensure patients get the treatment they need.’

The RCN, which is not part of the campaign, is calling for a pay rise of five percentage points above inflation, which it says is needed to retain skilled nurses and attract new talent to the profession.

The RB is expected to make its recommendations on the 2022-23 pay round soon.

The Department of Health and Social Care has been contacted for comment.


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