The minister praised the “heroics” of health workers but said many “envy” their job security.
A junior health minister has today defended plans to offer NHS workers just a 1% pay increase.
Former Conservative MP now junior health minister in the House of Lords praised the “heroics” of health workers during the pandemic but insisted that they had secure jobs that many would currently “envy”.
The minister’s comments after the Government asked the NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) to recommend a rise of just 1% for all NHS workers.
Lord Bethell insisted it was not a pay cut, but added; “There are millions of people out of work out of the back of this pandemic.
“There are lots of people who have had an extremely tough time and who face a period of unemployment. Nurses are well-paid for the job. They have a secure job and they have other benefits.
“There are many people in this country who look upon professional jobs within the NHS with some envy and we shouldn’t forget the fact that some public sector jobs are, in fact, extremely well-paid.”
Health unions have been calling upon the Government to give NHS workers an immediate restorative rise of between 12.5% and 15% after over a decade of real-terms pay cuts.
The Government will make its final decision on NHS pay in May after the NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) makes its recommendation.
Anthony Johnson, Lead Organiser for the grassroots group Nurses United UK who have been lobbying for a 15% pay rise, responded to Lord Bethell’s comments; “I find it pretty funny to be told by someone who is given an allowance of over £150 a day just for showing up that I’m well paid.”
“Every nurse on the frontline knows that our pay is directly linked to the safety of our patients. When you cut our pay it drives nurses out of jobs we love and puts our patients at risk.
“Perhaps this junior minister should spend more time learning about his ministerial brief and less time repeating spin and disinformation.”