NHS Staff in Unison say “No More waiting for Oxford Weighting”

By Sarah Edwards

NHS staff in the public services Union UNISON recently campaigned at the main gate to the Warneford hospital demanding urgent action on the staffing crisis that is undermining the health of patients and staff in Oxfordshire’s hospitals.

The campaigning follows a debate in Parliament in January when all Oxfordshire MP’s supported the call for a cost of living allowance for Oxfordshire’s NHS staff to help them meet the high cost of living in the county and was in preparation for the Oxford March for the NHS which took place on June 9th.

NHS staff in Oxfordshire currently receive just basic pay when many other NHS staff in the South East get an additional cost of living supplement to meet the high cost of housing. In areas of London with housing costs comparable to Oxfordshire the supplement ranges from £3,553 to £4,528. Thames Valley Police get up to £3,000 to help them meet housing costs to ensure they can afford to live in the area.

Ian Mckendrick, communications officer for Oxfordshire UNISON Health branch said, “The shortage of staff is crippling local NHS services. We have seen beds closed, operations cancelled, waiting times increased, and A&E overloaded.”
“Many staff feel at breaking point with workload and stress levels, as they struggle to cover gaps in staffing. The lack of core staff threatens continuity of care and patient safety.”

“Oxford hospitals are unable to compete with areas that pay the cost of living supplement. Why would anyone come to work in Oxford where they face understaffed wards and departments, where patient care is at risk, and where they struggle to pay the rent and have little or no hope to buy a house. MPs and employers agree this supplement needs to be paid.”

“The claim by the government that this year’s pay claim will solve the issue is a bad joke. It is a disgrace that action has still not been taken on what is a running sore. NHS staff are losing their patience. If the department of health won’t act to solve this problem then we have no choice but to act ourselves.”

Photo Credit: Axel Ceha

To find out more about Unison visit: https://join.unison.org.uk