Northamptonshire's Covid heroes appeal for public support on NHS pay

Health workers were due a new deal on April 1 but government is making them wait until July

Health workers across Northamptonshire are appealing to the public to back their campaign so NHS staff can receive a proper pay rise before the summer

Hospital porters, clerical workers, cleaners, nurses, healthcare assistants and other NHS staff who have worked through the Covid-19 pandemic will be urging people to contact their local MPs to keep up pay pressure on the government.

Scottish NHS workers will soon get a pay rise of at least four percent — backdated to December.

Health workers marched on Downing Street last July to make their case for a decent pay rise.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson is telling NHS staff in Northamptonshire and the rest of the UK they must wait until the NHS pay review body reports on its proposed one percent rise, which will not be until at least July.

The stand comes a day after news the nurse who helped save the PM's life in hospital last year is quitting the NHS claiming "we're not getting the respect and now pay that we deserve."

Health workers union UNISON says its members were due a pay rise at the beginning of April.

The union has been making the case for a minimum wage boost of at least £2,000 for staff.

Northamptonshire's NHS workers treated thousands of patients in hospitals during the pandemic.

UNISON East Midlands head of health Barbara McKenna said: “NHS staff have given their all during the pandemic and they will continue to do so to clear the backlog caused by Covid.

"But despite their incredible efforts, the government says a meagre one percent rise is all they’re worth.

“The length of waiting lists across the East Midlands shows the huge challenges still facing the NHS. A decent wage increase paid soon could stop staff feeling unloved and taken for granted, and perhaps be enough to persuade many thinking of walking to stay.”

Staff in UNISON branches based in NHS hospitals, ambulance stations and clinics across the East Midlands are using social media and taking part in socially-distanced events to make the public aware of feeling increasingly taken for granted, worn out by the pandemic and overwhelmed at tackling the Covid backlog of cancelled appointments and operations.

New Zealand nurse Jenny McGee, who looked after Boris Johnson in intensive care at St Thomas' Hospital in April 2020, reveals in Channel 4 documentary set to air later this month: "We're not getting the respect and now pay that we deserve."

"I'm just sick of it. So I've handed in my resignation."

Figures published last week showed just three Covid-19 patients were being treated in Northamptonshire's two acute hospitals at Northampton and Kettering.

But UNISON points out the pressure is still on staff with long waiting lists for treatment put off during the pandemic the longest ever.