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With A&E waiting times still being missed, can we afford not to pay staff what has been recommended?

  • A&E waiting time figures still being breached
  • Overall figures mask worse performance of major A&E units
  • Hunt being irresponsible over NHS pay
Statement from Dr Louise Irvine of the National Health Action Party on NHS strikes and A&E figures
 
“Today’s A&E figures showing continued breaches in waiting times should come as a warning shot to the government as talks resume over strike action by NHS staff. It’s telling to note that today’s figures showed a rise in delayed discharges, caused by a shortage of community care. One of the actions urgently needed to help ease the A&E crisis is to launch a recruitment drive to draw staff, who have left or recently retired, back into work, especially community nurses.
“By refusing to pay NHS staff what the Independent Pay Review Board has recommended, the government is fuelling a recruitment crisis that will have a dangerous impact on both patient care and NHS finances.  The real question is – can we afford not to pay staff what has been recommended?
“There is already a serious staffing shortage, with increasing numbers of staff working unpaid hours. Record numbers of nurses, paramedics and other health workers are leaving the service because of poor pay and conditions and rising stress levels and it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit. If we don’t look after our staff, and pay them properly, we will not be able to reverse the staffing shortage. That has huge costs in terms of quality, timeliness and safety of patient care. And as permanent staff shortages rise, hospitals are forced to recruit expensive agency staff, at a far higher cost than the 1% pay rise.
 
“Jeremy Hunt’s approach is both short-sighted and irresponsible.
“It’s also telling that behind the headline of the slight improvement in waiting time figures, only 29 of the 140 major hospital trusts actually met the target.  What’s more, the overall figures include walk-in centres and minor injury units which mask the true performance of type 1 major A&E units which are what most people consider when they talk about A&E. While the targets were met in 92.4% of cases if you include all walk-in centres and minor injury units, when you look purely at major A&E units, that figures drops to 88.5%. So the true picture is actually worse.”
More on the NHA Party’s Action Plan for the A&E crisis can be found here:

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