Health unions call for ‘game changing pay rise’ for exhausted NHS staff

26 Jan 2022

The BDA has joined forces with other leading NHS unions to urge ministers to act now with a significant wage boost to address the growing NHS staffing crisis.

In evidence to the independent NHS pay review body (NHSPRB), 14 unions – representing 1.2 million health staff in England – warn that without a decent pay rise this year, the NHS will continue to lose staff at alarming rates, with patients suffering the consequences most.   

The joint submission, which BDA contributed to, urges the government to ensure the 2022 pay rise both cushions health workers from increasing living costs and enables the NHS to hold on to, and attract, the staff so essential for its post-Covid recovery.

BDA Director of Trade Union and Public Affairs, Annette Mansell-Green, said: “Dietitians are working on the front line as an integral part of the NHS team. They are worn out and feeling undervalued after years of pay falling behind inflation and continuous understaffing.

“Many of our members are telling us that unless there is swift action from Government to address this, they will be looking to leave the NHS.

“This is a risk that ministers cannot afford to take, so for the sake of dedicated NHS staff and patients, they must act now.”

UNISON head of health and chair of the joint health unions Sara Gorton said: “Last year government dithering caused health workers to wait months for a measly pay rise. Ministers mustn’t make the same mistake again.  

“An above-inflation increase alone isn’t a magic solution to the NHS’ many problems. But a decent wage boost could prove just the trick to persuade many burnt-out staff to stay.  

“Time is now of the essence. The government needs to pull its finger out and show it’s prepared to act quickly to hold onto experienced health workers, protect the NHS and cut waiting times. 

"If direct pay talks with government can deliver a speedier pay outcome, then unions could get around the negotiating table instantly.”  


Notes to editors:
The 14 NHS unions are:

British Association of Occupational Therapists

British Dietetic Association

British Orthoptic Society

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Royal College of Podiatry

Federation of Clinical Scientists


Managers in Partnership

Prison Officers Association

Royal College of Midwives

Royal College of Nursing

Society of Radiographers



The deadline for submitting evidence to the NHS pay review body was 24 January. Its remit covers NHS staff in England and Northern Ireland. Health unions in Scotland are to hold talks with the government in Edinburgh over this year’s pay rise. Wales is also covered by the pay review body, and there may also be pay talks between unions and the government in Cardiff.

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