Poor nursing pay is a ‘patient safety issue’, explain campaigners ahead of today’s countrywide protests

An experienced band 5 nurse takes home around £5,000 less per year than a decade ago due to a prolonged public sector pay cap and austerity measures.

Matt Bodell
3 July 2021

Over 60 demonstrations will take place across the country today over pay and creeping NHS privatisation.

Nursing staff alongside fellow healthcare workers are preparing to protest today over pay, NHS privatisation and patient safety.


From Glasgow in the north to Plymouth in the south, over 60 demonstrations will take place today across the country arranged by Keep Our NHS PublicHealth Campaigns TogetherNHS Workers Say No and NHS Staff Voices with a separate demonstration by Nurses United UK.

Figures suggest that adjusted for the rate of inflation, an experienced band 5 nurse takes home around £5,000 less per year than they did a decade ago due to a prolonged public sector pay cap and then austerity measures.

The group also raises concerns for “patient safety” explaining that pay has a direct impact on the recruitment and retention of nurses.

The independent NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) submitted its recommendations to the Health Secretary last month but the publication of the report has been delayed until the Government makes an offer to unions. Earlier this year the Government told the body that a 1% rise was all it could afford given current economic pressures.


Today’s protests will also address creeping privations of health services, on the National Health Service’s 73 rd Birthday.

Patient safety.

Organisers have reassured the public that events will be socially distanced and abide by current recommendations.

Alia Butt, NHS Psychotherapist and Chair of NHS Staff Voices explains; “Patients inevitably suffer from the devaluing of workers. Instead of considering patient safety, the government has squandered taxpayers money unchallenged and continues to waste life-saving resources on nepotistic contracts.

“We must insist the NHS is prioritised and properly funded. We must demand an end to privatisation and that staff recruitment and retention be prioritised. We must demand the NHS is not just paid for by the taxpayer but also fully publicly owned.”


Holly Turner, NHS nurse and founding member of NHS Workers Say No, adds; “As a Nurse, I have been dealt over a decade of real-terms cuts to my pay despite my workload only continuing to increase. Staff have been victims of avoidable deaths and illness whilst crony contracts and profit has been placed above workers safety.

“We are struggling to keep our patients safe due to chronic understaffing and unmanageable waiting lists. This cannot go on, we are in crisis, this is why we are urging everyone who can, to join us this weekend to support our demands.”

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