Labour promises pay boost for 'overworked and insulted' NHS staff
A Labour government would scrap the 1% cap on NHS staff’s pay rises, the Shadow Health Secretary will announce today.
Jon Ashworth will say medics are “ignored, insulted, undervalued, overworked and underpaid” by the Conservatives and under Labour will get “the pay they deserve”.
The Labour manifesto will also promise to outlaw unsafe NHS staffing levels and reinstate funding for health-related education such as nursing bursaries, he will confirm.
All public sector staff had their pay frozen for two years from 2010 then had rises capped at 1% in every year since 2012.
Addressing the Unison health conference in Liverpool today, Mr Ashworth will pledge a return to collective bargaining for NHS pay based on the advice of independent pay review bodies.
“Our NHS staff are the very pride of Britain. Yet they are ignored, insulted, undervalued, overworked and underpaid by this Tory government. Not anymore. Enough is enough,” he will declare.
“I can pledge today that a Labour government will scrap the pay cap and give our NHS workers the pay they deserve.”
Previous reports have said a Labour pay rise for public sector staff could be financed by an increase in corporation tax and restoring the 50p top rate of income tax.
On staffing levels, Mr Ashworth will say: “Short staffing means reduced services and a threat to patient safety. Labour’s new guarantees for NHS staff will help keep services running at the standard which England’s patients expect…
“Time and again expert reports have told us that staffing levels are linked to patient safety but the Conservative Government has failed to deliver the numbers of extra staff that patients need.
“So the next Labour government will legislate ensure safe staffing levels in England’s NHS.”
The Royal College of Nursing has said England is short of at least 20,000 nurses, while the royal colleges of Midwives and Emergency Medicine have called for more midwives and emergency doctors respectively.
On health education Mr Ashworth will add: “We’ll invest in their education and training. We’ll bring back bursaries which the Tories scrapped.
“Our ambition is nothing less than ensuring the best trained health staff in the world.”
Conservative health minister Philip Dunne said Labour’s economic policies would leave the health service worse off.
He said: “A strong NHS needs a strong economy. Only Theresa May and the Conservatives offer the strong and stable leadership we need to secure our growing economy and with it funding for the NHS and its dedicated staff.
“We’ve protected and increased the NHS budget and got thousands more staff in hospitals. But all that’s at risk with Jeremy Corbyn’s nonsensical economic policies that would mean less money for the NHS. Just look at Wales where Labour’s economic mismanagement mean they had to cut funding.
“There’s a real risk of Jeremy Corbyn getting into government because the SNP and Liberal Democrats would do a deal to put him there. Only a vote for Theresa May and your local Conservative candidate can protect our economy and public services.”