Fair pay key to safe staffing our health service – Lockhart

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has challenged the Government to address the pay dispute impacting healthcare across the UK, and to ensure safe staffing is a priority all the time and not just when industrial action is underway.

By Carla Lockhart MP

Upper Bann

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The DUP representative made the call in a question the Grant Shapps MP, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary, in the House of Commons.

Speaking from Westminster, Carla Lockhart said:

“The Government is moving legislation that it claims is motivated by a desire to ensure safe staffing whilst industrial action is underway. Yet, if we take our health service for example, one of the reasons front line heath care workers are on strike is because of unsafe staffing levels 365 days a year across our NHS and health trusts. If you speak to nurses and doctors, as I do on a regular basis, this issue is a cause of grave concern to many working in our hospitals and primary care settings.

One reason for the unsafe staffing levels across our healthcare settings is that we are seeing an exodus of frontline workers, due to the failure of Government to pay them a fair wage for the amazing work they do. The BEIS Secretary parroted the line about the Independent Pay Review Body recommendation being accepted by Government, yet he knows full well it lags well behind inflation. He is advocating cutting the real terms living standards for health workers. That is unacceptable.

We need the Government to prioritise safe staffing all the time, not just to ensure safe staffing is in place during industrial action. This can only be achieved by investment in staff, starting with agreeing new enhanced pay awards for those who are employed in our NHS and health trusts.”

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