NHS heroes snubbed by Suffolk MPs on pay

NHS workers in Suffolk are disappointed and disgusted after MPs ignored their requests to meet over NHS pay, UNISON says today.

Health workers wrote to their representatives to discuss their urgent need for a pay rise while the government is dragging its feet.

Staff were due a rise on April 1 but ministers have yet to announce the independent pay review board’s recommendation on a rise or their response.

One of those disappointed at the lack of response was nurse Charmaine Bannister. She wrote to West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock twice before his shock resignation as health secretary but never received a response.

She said: “We have had a horrendous year, with the loss of many of our friends and colleagues. But my pay has been left behind and I cannot afford holidays and struggle to put food on the table in the last week before pay day.

Heather Bennett, a nurse in Ipswich, wrote to Tom Hunt MP requesting a discussion on pay but never received an answer.

“I am disgusted that he has not responded to my request and it shows that he does not care about many of his constituents that work in the NHS or respect their opinions or views,” she said.

“Tom Hunt has publicly said that he is eager to meet with his constituents but he obviously doesn’t keep his word when it involves discussing NHS pay.”

Fellow nurse Natasha Hunt was “very upset” that she has only received an automatic reply from Suffolk Coastal MP and Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey.

She said: “I have been working in the NHS for over 20 years and this is the first time I have contacted my MP about my concerns. I’m very disappointed about her lack of engagement with her constituents.”

UNISON is campaigning for an extra £2,000 on every pay point in the NHS, arguing it will help the lowest paid most and be quick and easy to implement for staff.

UNISON regional organiser Cheryl Godber added: “It’s appalling that Suffolk MPs are snubbing their constituents like this.

“Public opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of an NHS pay rise but these MPs and ministers can’t even be bothered to hit the reply button and respond to local health workers desperate to explain why they and their colleagues deserve a pay rise.”