We leave no one behind

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson

The government announcement on pay in the NHS is gut-wrenching.

After working round the clock to slow the coronavirus outbreak, the recent decision on NHS pay leaves many of our colleagues — including nurses, GPs, cleaners, porters, paramedics — out in the cold.

This isn't good enough. With a possible second wave on the horizon, the stakes are too high for us to leave anyone behind.

Sign the open letter to the Prime Minister calling on him to recognise the contribution of all NHS workers and increase their pay.


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To: The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson
From: [Your Name]

As NHS workers, we have spent the last five months facing the toughest fight of our lives.

We are exhausted emotionally and physically. We have lost colleagues. Many of us were forced to work longer hours, tougher hours, away from our families for weeks at a time.

But we fought on. Despite knowing we have one of the highest healthcare worker death rates in the world from Covid-19, we accepted the risk, determined to do what’s best for our patients and the country. We’re committed to the NHS. We are the NHS.

After everything we’ve been through, the recent Government announcement about pay in the NHS is gut-wrenching.

We knew how difficult Covid-19 would be, after a decade of NHS underfunding. With £30 billion stripped from the NHS budget [1], the strain on our NHS workforce, on ourselves, our colleagues and our friends, was unbelievable.

Since 2010, we have seen real-terms pay cuts across all NHS workers’ roles:

- Midwives’ average pay has fallen by £6,000 [2]
- Nurses’ pay has been cut by 7.4% [3]
- Doctors have had the highest drop in earnings of all professions, with some of us seeing our pay fall by up to 30% [4]

Cuts over the last decade have meant NHS workers’ salaries have not kept up with everyday costs and inflation. This has led to single parents, cleaners, porters and nurses turning to food banks and unable to afford rent.

The NHS is one team, but the Government’s recent approach to NHS pay leaves out the contribution of all healthcare workers. It neglects the nurses, junior doctors, GPs, paramedics, cleaners and countless others who have been fighting the coronavirus on the frontline for months on end.

Worst of all, the Government is asking the NHS to pay for the package they have announced. After the biggest public health crisis in a generation, the NHS needs funding. As NHS workers, we don’t want a penny to be taken away from patient care.

Let’s use this opportunity to assess what really matters to our society.

We want the Government to recognise every NHS worker’s efforts in fighting coronavirus. We call upon the Government to reverse the trend which is pushing NHS workers into poverty, and provide fully funded, above-inflation pay rises every year for the next 4 years, for every single NHS worker.

A decision on NHS pay should leave no one behind.

Yours sincerely,
The undersigned

References:
[1] National Health Action Party, 'Election Manifesto', 2015.
[2] Nursing Times, '‘Real value’ of nurse and midwife pay falling, warn analysts', 16 March 2017.
[3] Full Fact, 'Nurse pay up over the past few years but down on 2010', 20 March 2020.
[4] BMA, 'Government should have done more to recognise huge efforts of doctors in England during Covid, says BMA', 21 July 2020.