Responding to government announcements of pay rises for police and prison officers which breach the 1 per cent public sector pay cap, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents health service organisations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said:
“The health and care workforce is one of the biggest issues facing the NHS, and indeed the country. In some places we simply cannot recruit the staff we need and this is beginning to have a real impact on patient safety.
“While it is clear the ability to restrain pay without impacting on recruitment or retention is now over, and while we agree the public sector pay cap should be lifted, the worst thing the government could do is expect local NHS organisations to pick up the additional costs. It’s vital the Government commits to meeting the costs of doing so with additional NHS funding.
“All the signs are that NHS trusts will certainly struggle this winter. Last year the NHS managed incredibly well but we cannot continue just to rely on a hope that viruses will not wreak havoc, that the weather will be clement and that staff commitment will get us through. Pay rises are key but also additional funding to meet rising demand.”