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Plaid Cymru push Welsh Government to increase pay offer to nurses amid strike threat

23 Nov 2022 3 minute read
NHS nurses at work. Picture by Victoria Jones / PA Wire.

Plaid Cymru have pushed the Welsh Government to improve their pay offer to nurses amid a threat of strike action.

Nurses in almost all of Wales’ NHS organisations voted earlier this month to strike over pay.

Welsh Government Health Minister Eluned Morgan has said that more UK government cash will be needed to meet pay demands.

But Plaid Cymru today called on the Welsh Government to use “every devolved lever” to make an improved pay offer to nurses. The Welsh Government have however sought to delete the proposal.

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, the party’s health and care spokesperson says that nurses “are at their wits end” and that the unintended consequences of inaction will be for more nurses to leave the profession altogether.

Plaid Cymru will make the call on Welsh Government in a Senedd debate tabled by the party today.

“Nurses are over-worked, under-paid and at their wits end. If the news that too many nurses are leaving their vocation isn’t already an indication that things are seriously wrong in the healthcare service, then the recent vote for strike action must be a wake-up call for government,” Rhun ap Iorwerth said.

“However, while nurses are calling out for help, is Welsh Government listening? Plaid Cymru is taking a debate to the Senedd calling on Welsh Government to use every power in its disposal to come up with a better pay offer for our hard-working nurses. Yet the only action they’ve taken in response, is to amend the motion by deleting that call.

“Welsh nurses deserve fair pay for their essential work, yet they’re currently facing a real terms pay cut, as a result of Westminster’s economic crisis and Welsh Government’s mismanagement of our healthcare service. Nurses are the backbone of our NHS, but a lack of fair pay will force many more to leave, leaving the workforce even more depleted and weakened. Ultimately, the people that will pay the price of this government mismanagement of our healthcare service is the patients.”

‘No escape’

Speaking as the result of the vote to strike became known, Health Minister Eluned Morgan said that the strike was due to a “Tory-inflicted cost of living crisis”.

“There are limits as to how far we can go to address these concerns in Wales, without additional funding from the Conservative government at a UK level.”

Helen Whyley, the director of RCN Wales, however, said that the strike action was necessary.

“I have visited hospitals and workplaces throughout Wales,” she said. “I have heard first-hand of nurses who are struggling to pay their household bills, of the extra hours they have worked for free to subsidise the NHS, the shifts they have gone without any breaks.

“They have told me of their constant worry and despair for the safety of their patients due to short staffing.

“There is currently no escape for staff, worry and guilt for their patients at work, worry and guilt for their families at home. This is not sustainable.”

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