Lib Dems: give nurses and other NHS staff 'a proper pay rise'

Norman Lamb calls for wage hike at Lib Dem party conference.

Norman Lamb has called for NHS staff to be given a pay rise in a speech at the Liberal Democrat party conference today.

Lib Dem shadow health secretary Norman Lamb. Picture: Barney Newman

The shadow health secretary told the event in Bournemouth how nurses and other health service staff were working under 'incredible pressure' and deserved 'a proper pay rise'.

His comments come just days after the RCN and other health unions broke with tradition and appealed directly to chancellor Philip Hammond, rather than the independent NHS pay review body, for an above-inflation pay rise of 3.9% for healthcare workers.

They want the chancellor to earmark funds in the November budget for a pay rise in line with retail price index inflation, currently 3.9%, and an additional £800 to restore some of the pay lost over the past seven years.

Dedicated workers

Mr Lamb told the Lib Dem conference: 'So many incredible people work in our NHS, totally dedicated to the care and treatment of patients – our brilliant doctors, nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, cleaners, porters. But they are working under incredible pressure.

 'I don't know about you, but I think NHS staff deserve a proper pay rise.

 'And remember all those people from across the European Union who help keep our NHS and care system going? Guarantee them the right to stay, Theresa May.'

Mental health

Mr Lamb also used his speech to call for an approach to improving mental health that is focused on prevention, and to give tax breaks to companies who took steps to improve well-being in the workplace.

'We now know that children who experience trauma or neglect in early years have a higher risk of poor health, low educational attainment and worklessness, and often fall into the criminal justice system,' he added. 

'We let these most vulnerable children down horribly. And it costs the state a fortune.

'Yet we know that intervening before the trauma has set in, by working with parents, we can transform lives. Make the big investment – it will pay off.

 'Equally, let's set a ten-year plan to get employers focused on the health and well-being of their workforce.

 'As part of my work chairing a commission on mental health in the West Midlands, I've proposed a Well-being Premium – a temporary discount on your business rates if you take tangible steps to improve well-being at work. The evidence is there about what works. So let's do it.'

Further information

RCN and other health unions call for 3.9% pay rise for NHS staff

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