60% of health workers consider leaving the NHS

Three in five health workers have considered leaving the NHS in the last 12 months, according to a survey of more than 24,000 NHS employees.

Dr Peter Carter
Dr Peter Carter

The findings were released as fourteen trade unions, including the RCN, Unison and Unite, submitted evidence to the independent pay review body calling for a substantial above inflation pay award for NHS workers in 2008/9.

The unions say another pay cut could further damage staff morale and create retention problems.

The survey of health workers found 60 per cent had considered leaving the NHS in the past 12 months and 61 per cent said their morale and motivation had deteriorated over the same period.

In addition, 84 per cent said their workload had increased within the last year because of vacancy freezes, redundancies and the pressure to meet government targets.

Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the RCN, said: ‘ The fallout from the government’s decision to stage [this year’s] pay award in England has been considerable. The review body needs to bear in mind that cutting nurses’ pay for a second year will do nothing to attract and retain high quality staff, and ultimately that will be bad news for patients. Second class pay will not deliver a first class health service.’

Kevin Coyne, head of health at Unite, said: ‘Holding down pay will simply undermine the drive to improve services by decreasing morale and making it harder to attract and retain staff.’

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