Karen Jennings, Unison head of health, said: ‘The Pay Review Body's decision not to call for the pay talks to be re-opened will be disappointing for nurses, midwives, paramedics and other health workers.
‘Whilst inflation has started to come down, Unison members entered into the 3-year deal in good faith, based on government predictions that inflation had peaked and would fall. Yet health workers have experienced big increases in food prices and other costs over the past 9 months.
‘Unison with other health unions put forward compelling arguments detailing the impact of rising inflation on NHS staff, as well as pointing out the longer term problem of attracting and retaining new staff.
‘We are pleased however that the Review Body has stated that it will look again at the position in autumn 2009.'
Dr Peter Carter, RCN chief executive and general secretary, said: ‘We are extremely disappointed that the Review Body is not recommending reopening NHS pay talks. But the fact is the economy has changed dramatically since the 3-year deal was signed, lurching from the highest inflation levels in 16 years to recession and associated job losses.
‘These are tough times for everyone, including hard working nurses and low paid healthcare assistants. Record numbers of our members have turned to the RCN for help dealing with financial difficulties, including home repossession over the past few months. While there are signs inflation is now falling, the impact of spiralling inflation earlier this year - on mortgages, utility bills and cost of living continues to have a devastating effect on the everyday lives of our members.'
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