NHS staff see pay slips shrink

Unions must step up fight for a real pay rise

Holly Johnston, Union rep in the NHS, TUSC candidate for Nether Edge and Sharrow ward, Sheffield City Council

Thousands of NHS staff inspecting their payslips for April are finding themselves worse off, and that’s before the effects of the rising cost of living!

National Insurance, pension, student loan and tax increases, for many NHS workers, amount to more than last year’s pitiful 3% pay offer. Many are being pushed into looking for second jobs. Significant pay deductions, coupled with the free hospital parking being taken away, is pushing more beyond tipping point.

One staff member explained that the removal of the NHS staff parking permit means they will be saying goodbye to their job in A&E and will be applying for a permanent bank nurse job instead.

An NHS porter explained that they have been working for the NHS for 25 years and seen their rent, energy bill and council tax all increase. Now they can only afford to feed themselves for three weeks of the month. With further price and tax increases coming, they do not see the point in working at all.


Parking is a burning issue in hospitals. A typical NHS staffer in England pays approximately £1,000 a year to park at work. Not to mention the parking charges if you park in council spaces and are unable to break from your shift to even top up parking on the app. Community staff have been facing hardship due to the fuel crisis and an out-of-date NHS mileage allowance policy. The £60-a-month wear-and-tear payment for staff who use their own vehicles has been cut. There hasn’t been an increase in the mileage allowance for nearly eight years.

On the back of an unprecedented pandemic, staff are overworked and under-resourced. Many staff are leaving or planning to leave. There are already 100,000 NHS vacancies, and one in five nurses are over the age of 55 and expected to retire in the next five years.

The government has delayed its submission to the Pay Review Body, which is supposed to decide our pay for the year 2022-23. It is expected that there will be an announcement around June.

Union campaigns locally have won victories to increase mileage allowances, and outsourced workers at Bart’s Health NHS Trust in east London have taken successful strike action to be brought back in house with a pay rise. But the pay campaigns need to be stepped up. Union reps continue to battle on the ground to build workers’ confidence to fight. But without a clear lead from the tops of the unions, there is a real risk of workers’ anger leading to staff simply leaving their jobs.