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Recruitment and morale at risk over pay restraint, NHS Confederation warns

The NHS is in danger of facing a recruitment and morale crisis if the government does not address major concerns over pay freezes and the right to remain for European Union (EU) workers, a senior health figure has warned.

The NHS is in danger of facing a recruitment and morale crisis if the government does not address major concerns over pay freezes and the right to remain for EU workers, a senior health figure has warned


Staff shortages will become worse if we do not act now, warns chief executive of NHS confederation
Picture: iStock

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents health service organisations across England, said he fears staff will flee the NHS in the coming years unless measures are taken to improve pay and conditions.

Future warning

Writing on theGuardian.com, Mr Dickson issued a stark warning over the future of the health service.

He said: 'Given the financial and demand pressures on the service in recent years, some pay restraint has been necessary and inevitable, but it is also obvious there will be a limit on how far this can be taken before it affects recruitment and morale.

'Finding front-line nurses to staff wards is a common problem with time wasted trying to fill rotas and in spite of some heroic efforts, too much money spent on agencies and locum staff, with the NHS continuing to spend £250 million per month on agency staff.

'An unless we deal quickly and effectively with the plight of EU nationals working here and sort out our future policies on migration, the shortages will become more serious.'

Mr Dickson said 'radical change and imagination is required' to find a solution to the problems currently facing the NHS.

He said: 'More doctors and nurses in key areas will be part of the answer, including training more of our own, but we also need new types of staff to meet patients' changing needs, new approaches to training and greater flexibility in all professions to meet a rapidly changing world.'

Government acceptance

In March it was announced that health workers ranging from nurses, midwives, doctors, cleaners and porters would receive just a 1% pay rise in the 2017-18 pay round, angering union leaders.

The government said it had accepted recommendations from the Independent NHS Pay Review Body for increases in the coming year and it was 'pleased' to offer the salary increase.

Unions called the rise 'derisory', especially as fuel, food and transport costs were increasing.


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