IN a debate last week in the Senedd, Plaid Cymru called for the disparities between health and social care staff to end, and for care workers to be paid a guaranteed minimum of £10 an hour.
Under current arrangements, all health workers in the Welsh NHS are paid at least the real living wage. That is not the case in the care sector.
In the Senedd debate, last Wednesday, Plaid Cymru called on the “next Welsh Government” to introduce a guaranteed minimum of £10 an hour for all care workers.
Plaid Cymru MS Helen Mary Jones, speaking in the Senedd said:
“I’m going to quote the words of Helen, who is a nurse from Llanelli. She has e-mailed: ‘As for nurses pay, the misinformation and manipulation of the facts about previous pay increases and that the vast majority of nurses are on salaries of over £30,000 peddled by the Westminster Government needs to be challenged.
“Many nurses are the main breadwinners in their family, and their income is not secondary to a husband’s.’ ‘It’s not just during the COVID crisis that those who provide health and social care in primary, secondary and independent services have been serving our community’ she says. ‘To stand outside and clap and then offer a below-inflation pay increase is an insult. The retention of health and care staff will be vital to meet the needs of those who have had delays in diagnostics and treatment, and a paltry 1 per cent does not offer much incentive to remain in nursing.’
She then says, ‘My apologies for the rant, but in 40 years I have never seen morale so low, and I personally have never felt more patronised and insulted.”
Plaid Cymru MS Helen Mary Jones added:
“I know Helen, and her commitment and dedication have been inspirational, and it makes me furious to hear how patronised and insulted she feels.“Nurse recruitment, of course, has never been a very major issue, but nurse retention has been an issue for a long time, and there are a number of reasons for this. Lack of flexibility is one of them; limited opportunities for career progression another. But low wages are part of this picture.
“I am concerned that we will see a haemorrhage of these nurses and other skilled professionals out of our NHS to agency work, or out of health and care altogether, precipitated by unbearable working conditions and just ended up by this gross insult of a pay offer. That leaves me with real concern about the long-term sustainability of services. We know that we need to provide more services close to people’s homes, but, if we don’t have the professionals, how can we keep hospitals like Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli going and providing the excellent services that they do?”
“What they want, and need is a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, week in, week out. we must do all we can, including paying a minimum of £10 an hour to all care workers. After May, a Plaid Cymru Government will do just that.”