NHS pay restraint must end – and frontline staff rewarded for the ‘commitment they make’ to society and the health service, a former Conservative health secretary has said.
Opening the NHS Confed 17 conference in Liverpool, NHS Confederation chair Mr Dorrell urged politicians to take action to address the short- and long-term problems facing the NHS and social care.
Mr Dorrell said prime minister Theresa May’s failure to win an outright majority in the 2017 general election and ‘parliamentary arithmetic’ should not distract from the task at hand – and the importance of tackling the issues faced.
He said: ‘We need to ensure that our people work in a culture which empowers and motivates them. Too often our organisations and structures feel like obstacles to great care; we must ensure they are redesigned when necessary to make it easy for our staff to do the right thing.
'And, critically, we need to ensure that our staff are fairly rewarded for the commitment they make.
'We all know that financial resources are stretched, but we cannot expect to benefit from the continued commitment of our staff if they feel that public sector pay policy offers them no reasonable prospect of meeting their private needs and aspirations.’
He added: ‘I well understand the pressures which ministers face, particularly in a difficult parliamentary situation. I have the T-shirt.
‘But real life will not wait; we all know that demand pressures within the system are building and it is a key part of the role of the confederation to ensure that uncomfortable facts are understood and acted on.
‘It is also not just a matter of resources.’
Mr Dorrell also paid tribute to NHS staff who helped the victims of the terror attacks in Manchester and London.
He said: ‘The extraordinary thing about these examples is precisely that they are not extraordinary – they are the daily practice of those who work in the health and care system; their commitment is an inspiration and we should never ever allow ourselves to take it for granted.’
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