An NHS Pay Rise and a Birthday

The National Health Service just turned 73. It was actually just under a month ago now on Monday 5th July. Despite landmarks including football stadiums, town halls, churches, hospitals and bridges lighting up blue ahead of the anniversary of the founding of the health service, there was little to celebrate. The NHS is so understaffed, overstretched and lacking in almost every area. It has been an extremely challenging year for the NHS and the country as a whole. The government and senior management teams keep saying it is a year of hope, but it's hard to see that right now. 

There's been two "presents" given to NHS staff recently. The Queen awarded the George Cross to the entire NHS, in an unprecedented honour, bestowed collectively for only the third time. It seeks to appreciate the vital role the service plays in our lives, and to recognise and thank the extraordinary staff who guide, support and care, day in, day out. It would be quite nice to have a physical token of thanks! 

Alongside that, it has recently been announced that staff in England will be given a 3% pay rise backdated to April. Whilst this is better than the previously suggested 1% and of course the pay freeze that was originally announced in November, it's not really enough. To further worsen the situation, the recommendation is non-binding - meaning ultimately the government decides.

There have been marches and protests repeatedly regarding the pay situation and to be honest, I agree with them. Over the past decade NHS staff are now 15% worse off in real terms, with inflation in view of the income. In real money, I will be getting an additional £747.21 more basic salary. That's £4.79 per 11.5 hour shift. Before tax. On top of that, 3% won't do much in the way of recruitment and retention, which is a causing a major staffing crisis. It is estimated there are 100,000 vacancies in the health service, with 3,500 full time midwives short alone. At my trust we are 62 midwives down and this is set to increase. 

Of course, 3% is better than nothing and despite everything, most NHS staff don't go into the NHS because of the money, but because they care. I will continue to try my hardest, to do my best and to care for the women I look after. What are your thoughts? Too much or too little?