Cefin Campbell, Plaid Cymru’s regional MS for Mid & West Wales, has supported calls for a real-terms pay rise for NHS staff.
In a Senedd debate led by Plaid Cymru on Wednesday 6 October, Mr Campbell called for meaningful action from Welsh Government to address workforce shortages and low morale in the NHS.
The debate, led by Plaid Cymru, proposed that the Senedd supported efforts furthered by Unite, Unison and the Royal College of Nursing in calling on the Welsh Government to commit to a real terms pay rise above that proposed by the NHS pay review body.
Earlier this month, members of all four of the largest NHS unions voted to reject the increase of 3% in pay offered by the Welsh Government.
Speaking during the debate, Cefin Campbell MS highlighted the growing strain and pressures on the NHS workforce as a result of the pandemic - with a recent RCN survey finding that over a third (37%) of nurses were considering leaving the profession - with 58% citing pay as one of the main contributing factors.
Cefin Campbell MS, said:
"I gratefully applaud and admire the tireless work and dedication of NHS health workers. Throughout the pandemic, they have gone further than ever before in risking their own lives to care for the vulnerable and frail in our communities. However, with growing pressures, deteriorating morale and staff absences, we are increasingly seeing a crisis emerge within the NHS workforce.
“I spoke recently with a senior nursing sister who has given nearly 40 years of her life to the NHS. She told me very movingly that never during her long career has she felt so low, so burnt out and so undervalued, which is why she is bringing her retirement plans forward, because quite simply she’s had enough.
“Throughout the pandemic, many of us clapped for our nurses and carers, however the thunderous applause on our doorsteps has become a distant echo as despair and disillusionment has returned in heaps, leaving many of our NHS staff beleaguered and heading for early retirement or a change of career, because the clapping never paid the bills or the mortgage or bought clothes for their kids or put food on the table.
“For many, the proposed 3% pay rise will already be cancelled by this month’s rise in NHS pension contributions. The new health and social care levy will wipe out almost half next year’s rise. And that’s even before you consider the growing cost of living crisis.
“It is time the Welsh Government deliver on their promise of a real-terms pay increase to remunerate and reward staff for their work.”
Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for Health & Care added:
“NHS staff deserve a real-terms pay rise above that proposed by the NHS pay review body. Anything less will fall short of giving some of our most critical workers the recognition they have earned during what will have been some of the toughest months of their professional lives.”