Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has expressed hope the extra allocation of £25 million towards pay for health and social care workers can help stabilise the workforce.
However, the South Belfast MLA warned pay and conditions must be further improved. Staff will receive between 0.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent, backdated until last April, with the higher award going to lower paid workers.
“We stood and applauded the work of health and social care workers during the pandemic, and it is only right we take steps now to show they are valued – not just through improved pay, but also through improved conditions,” said Ms Bradshaw.
“I welcome this extra allocation, which I hope will enable backdated rises for directly employed health and social care staff of at least 0.5 per cent to cover the current financial year.
“However, we must continue to reflect low pay for front-line health and social care staff is an entirely false economy as well as a moral outrage, as it only leads to people switching to agency employment or leaving healthcare in Northern Ireland altogether. In particular, nurses’ pay particularly at entry level for directly employed staff remains unacceptably low, an issue which is of increasing concern given increasing inflation.
“I would continue to urge the swift implementation of safe staffing legislation and of improved pay and conditions for directly employed health and social care staff.”