The government’s approach to ongoing strikes within the health service is popularly known as a “cold cup”, according to the president of the NHS Confederation.
Lord Victor Adebowale, president of the NHS confederation, told BBC Question Time on Thursday how it was time a proper pay rise plan was put in place to bail out the health service.
Nurses, ambulance drivers and potentially junior doctors are all pushing back against low public sector pay – amid their tough working conditions alongside the life crisis, inflation and a looming recession.
Suggesting that the time had passed for the government to really act, Adibowale said: “I was in the hospital the other day – if I went up to the nurses who were looking after people in the corridors and said, ‘ You know what we need now, ‘well, this will be almost as popular as a cup of cold sick.’
He said the only way forward was to first accept that “we are in a crisis right now, people are on strike, the government needs to negotiate.”
The audience applauded at this suggestion. The government has mostly refused to intervene in wage negotiations between public sector employees and their employers.
Adibowale continued: “We need a proper workforce plan, which means a long-term workforce plan, so we know how many nurses we need now, how many nurses we need in the future, what we need to do.” required, how much they have to pay.
“And third, we must build on the reforms we have just made. Remember in July, we passed, and there was general cross-party support for, a bill that created an integrated care system, population healthHe has just started.
“We need to start building healthier communities so we need less hospitals – my members will love it.”
Until now, the government has offered a one-off payment for NHS workers.
The NHS was a hot topic in Question Time this week amid ongoing strikes and fears over its general future.
The mother of a nurse spoke to the audience and said most of her daughter’s peers chose not to stay in the NHS and instead went overseas.
She said they were “tired of the pressures and the pressures of agency staff who don’t turn up, and just being dumped all the time”.
The audience member continued: “Nobody ever talks about staff morale in the NHS.
“But that’s a major issue, they go into nursing not for the fancy salary,[but]because they want to make a difference and they can’t because they don’t have enough staff.”
He said vacancies in the nursing sector have been “going on for years” and “successive governments have scuttled down the road over the years” because it is expensive.
“We have to decide – do we want the NHS or not? Because that is what is coming.
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