Claiming that the government can’t afford this much of an increase, Hunt is expected to defend his actions by explaining if it were to be paid, it could put patient care at risk and result in further job cuts. But is this really the case?
While he has promised a smaller contribution, it’s not one than will be able to keep up with the rise in inflation, meaning it will, in effect, be a pay cut in real terms. At a time when the whole country is being hit by escalating costs of living, this latest announcement is sure to be another blow for NHS staff already facing mounting work pressures, and will guarantee morale to be at an all-time low.
The overriding concern, following this news, is that NHS staff will be placed under even more pressure and may not be able to deliver the very best care possible. If this is the case, then ultimately it will be the patients that are put at risk and suffer.
In order for this to change, we need to push for improvements so NHS professionals can deliver high standards of patient care. Rewarding the hard work and commitment of staff with a fair and decent wage is one way to attract and retain motivated and talented medical professionals that will ensure patients receive the best possible treatment.
Obviously the government is under pressure to make cost savings but when people’s lives could potentially be put at risk, is a one per cent rise really too much to ask? Before he steps down on March 31, NHS chief Sir David Nicholson has already warned that billions of extra funding will be needed to help improve the NHS and patient care. So perhaps Mr Hunt should start with the frontline staff in order to promote change and improve our national health service.