The regional head of health for public services union Unison has criticised the government after around 1.3 million NHS staff across the country were told they would only receive a 1% pay rise.
An announcement was made by the NHS pay review body (PRB) on Tuesday, March 28 that NHS wages would increase by 1% a year or freeze for the seventh successive year.
The deal, which unions argue amounts to less than £5 extra a week for most midwives, nurses, paramedics and other healthcare staff, was accepted by ministers as an aid to public finances.
The Treasury said that wage restraints would help protect an estimated 200,000 jobs.
Lincoln union members however condemned the 2017/18 agreement, arguing low pay had exacerbated staffing shortages in the county, and is for the sixth year in a row lower than inflation.
Commenting on the announcement, UNISON East Midlands head of health Dave Godson said: “The government insists it values health staff, but after endless pay freezes and wage caps, they feel taken for granted.
“Day after day NHS staff in Lincolnshire are giving 100%, but getting just 1% in return.
“Low pay causes real problems keeping experienced staff and recruiting new people to rural Lincolnshire.
“The county has to compete with cities where it’s cheaper to live and travel, when NHS pay is not keeping up with the cost of living.”
Dave, who is also the Lincoln Constituency Labour Party Secretary, added: “There are 300 nursing vacancies in the county and creaking A&E departments are finding it harder to recruit specialist staff. If this continues, patient care will start to suffer.
“The government might claim this pay rise will protect jobs. But if pay is so low no-one wants them, then ministers must do the right thing by Lincolnshire health workers and give them a decent pay rise.”