Unions representing more than 1.3 million health workers are urging the Prime Minister to speed up the pay process to show he cares about staff facing “burnout” because of the strain of dealing with the coronavirus crisis.
Officials have written to Boris Johnson warning him that hospitals are “stretched to the limit”, while staff felt “demoralised and traumatised”.
Polling published by the 14 health unions showed that most people believe the Government should bring forward a wage increase for all NHS staff.
Two out of five of the 2,000 members of the public questioned said they supported a significant increase.
The unions urged the Prime Minister to personally intervene to speed up the pay review process and grant an immediate wage increase.
In a submission to the NHS pay review process, the unions argue that a wage rise was vital if the health service is to deal with the challenges of the pandemic and its aftermath.
Unison’s head of health, Sara Gorton, said: “It’s in the Prime Minister’s gift to speed up the pay review process.
“A wage rise won’t stop the virus, but it will show exhausted staff the Government cares as much about them as it does about their patients.”
General secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, Dame Donna Kinnair, said: “NHS staff are worse off now than 10 years ago.
“When tens of thousands of nurse jobs are vacant, the Government cannot afford to let more leave over low pay.
“A meaningful rise will bring in new nurses and keep experienced ones in post.”
Executive director for external relations at the Royal College of Midwives, Jon Skewes, said: “Over a million people work in the NHS.
“Putting extra money in their pockets would not just acknowledge and recognise their hard work, it would also put cash into struggling local economies and help families at a time when many will be facing mounting financial difficulties.”
Unions making the submission represent staff including healthcare assistants, nurses, hospital porters, physiotherapists, midwives, dieticians, paramedics, occupational therapists and cleaners.