Hospital Dr News

Labour would remove 1% pay cap that Government has imposed on NHS staff

The 1% pay cap for NHS staff would be lifted and there tuition fees for student nurses and midwives removed under a Labour government.

Labour said the policies would help address staffing shortages in England that had become a “threat to patients”.

The opposition party revealed three key NHS promises as part of its manifesto for the General Election.

In addition to scrapping the pay cap, and reversing the end of bursaries and introduction of tuition fees planned for August for student nurses and midwives, it would also introduce tougher rules on safe staffing levels in the NHS.

Labour promised to “legislate for safe staffing” in the NHS if it wins the upcoming General Election.

The party said pay restraint is causing “a health recruitment crisis” and it wants to reinstate funding for health related degrees to “incentivise” young people to work in the NHS.

The 1% pay cap has been in force since 2013-14 following a two year pay freeze.

In July, the government announced bursaries for nursing, allied health professionals and midwives would be cut.

Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said he would ask the National Institute for Health and Care and Excellence to recommence its work into safe staffing ratios that was dropped in June 2015.

Labour did not commit to a figure for any pay rise but said it should “reflect the complexity of the work carried out”. It will set pay based on “collective bargaining” and evidence from independent pay review bodies. He believes this focus will reduce reliance on agency spending and cut the need for overseas recruitment.

 

Ashworth said: “Cuts to pay and training mean hard working staff are being forced from NHS professions and young people are being put off before they have even started. What is bad for NHS staff is bad for patients too. Short staffing means reduced services and a threat to patient safety.”

Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair, commented: “NHS staff will be encouraged by this understanding of the damaging impact on their morale from the years of real terms pay cuts and ongoing pay restraint that have led to vacant posts, understaffing and rota gaps.

“The NHS clearly does need more staff – there is a chronic shortage of GPs as well as doctors working in areas such as acute and emergency medicine. Fewer junior doctors are applying to train in key medical specialities across the board.

“At a time when GPs are unable to keep up with the number of patients coming through the surgery door and hospital doctors are working under impossible conditions, politicians must outline how they will address the £30bn funding gap in the NHS. Tackling this issue head on is absolutely vital if we are to provide the NHS that delivers the high-quality care patients deserve.”

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