The union warns that wages need to “increase significantly”.
The NHS risks losing thousands of low-paid staff, including 999 call handlers, healthcare assistants, medical secretaries and cleaners, to the private sector unless wages increase significantly, finds a new report.
The report published today by Unison warns that the NHS risks losing its lowest-paid employees to the private sector “unless wages increase significantly”.
Supermarket giant Morrisons offers a minimum of £10 an hour compared with £9.49 for a hospital porter or catering assistant, according to the research commissioned from analysts Incomes Data Research (IDR).
The report also found that drivers can command even higher rates – United Parcel Service (UPS) pays £16.49 for large goods vehicle (LGV) drivers when the NHS pays just £10.19.
Narrowing the gap.
As the cost of living skyrockets, private-sector employees are also becoming more thankful for other perks such as staff discounts.
The IDR report compared wages for jobs at the bottom of the NHS pay scale with those in the private sector requiring similar skills and responsibilities.
The report concludes: “In the public sector, rising inflation means that the gap between pay rises there and those in the private sector is likely to widen again.
“If the government does not act to narrow this gap, then [the NHS] is likely to face many of the problems around staff recruitment, retention and morale that arose in the past.”
The IDR report also warns that improvements to basic pay in the private sector represent “a much greater recruitment and retention challenge to the NHS than previously”.
Unison adds an exodus of even more workers to the private sector would be disastrous for the health service and would only compound current workforces shortages.
It doesn’t bode well for patient care.
Head of health Sara Gorton commented, “It’s clear big-name employers who compete with the NHS for staff are acting fast.
“The health service can’t function without cleaners, porters, healthcare assistants and other low-paid workers. But no one would blame them for taking jobs with employers willing to pay better rates.
“The chancellor’s spring statement was silent on public sector pay. But the staffing crisis will deepen unless the government acts swiftly with a real pay rise that leaves inflation in the shade.
“Workers will then have no choice but to go after better rates on the high street as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite. That doesn’t bode well for patient care.”