Separate polls of NHS workers and those belonging to the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) have both found that urgent pay increases are needed for staff to feel recognised and to prevent them from quitting their jobs altogether.
According to research by the RCM – which forms part of its evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body – real pay for a grade-6 level midwife has decreased by £7,000 since 2010. It further revealed that 71% of members are considering quitting the profession permanently.
Meanwhile a separate poll by Unison of 10,000 NHS workers found the government’s approach to pay is making employers question their future in the health service. Around 64% of those questioned said ignored demands for a pay rise is making them consider quitting for good.
Unison now wants an immediate £2,000 pay rise for NHS staff, to reverse its finding that only one-in-10 NHS workers say they feel valued. Of those surveyed, 83% said a pay rise would make them feel confident about their continued working for the NHS.
Unison’s head of health Sara Gorton said: “Many are beyond exhausted and feel let down by politicians who expect health workers to give everything but show them little in return. A rise of £2,000 as soon as possible would persuade many NHS staff to stay and encourage others to consider a career in health.”
Commenting on the RCM’s research, its executive director Jon Skewes said: “What maternity services up and down the UK need now is a decent pay rise to keep existing staff in the service and make sure that midwifery is seen as an attractive career option for the midwives of the future.”
Separate RCM data has already revealed the shortage of midwives is now reaching acute levels, with around half of shifts now going understaffed. This comes at a cost to the NHS of £97 million per year.