Overtime deal strengthens call for fairer wages and staffing

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared 2020 to be the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, encouraging members of these two professions to expect, not unreasonably, that ‘This is our Time’ (the strapline of the WHO campaign). In the middle of the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, it’s therefore difficult to imagine a better time to reward the contributions of frontline NHS staff in the UK with more generous pay and working conditions.

The current government has certainly put the NHS at the heart of its messaging, as well as its strategy, throughout the pandemic, but is the Tories’ enthusiastic – some say cynical – endorsement of state-funded healthcare now reflected in the way it rewards healthcare workers?

Judging from a recent agreement, designed to address the historic injustice of unpaid overtime in the NHS, you could be forgiven for thinking maybe it is. Overtime, paid or otherwise, has become an endemic feature of working in the health service.

A report last year from the independent NHS Pay Review Body acknowledged that the health service had become increasingly reliant on unpaid overtime. And NHS staff surveys bear this out.

Full story in The Lowdown, 10 June 2020