Bedfordshire healthcare assistants win more pay after strikes

Strikers hold placards calling for fair pay for patient care

Healthcare support workers at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust have won higher wages and backpay after recent strikes, UNISON announces today.

​Hundreds of healthcare assistants, maternity care workers, theatre support assistants and other clinical support workers have agreed a deal that they believe properly recognises their work.

The staff had been on band 2 of the NHS’s Agenda for Change pay scale, but for years they have been undertaking clinical duties that should be paid around £2,000 a year more at band 3, says UNISON. These include blood monitoring, ECGs and patient observations.

After months of negotiations got nowhere, workers took two days of strike action in March, staging picket lines at Luton & Dunstable and Bedford hospitals.

Staff will now be rebanded, effective from August 2019, meaning some long-serving workers will recover more than £8,000 in back pay.

UNISON Eastern regional organiser Julie Trundell said: “This is fantastic news for these essential NHS staff.

“After years of being underpaid and undervalued, healthcare assistants and their clinical support colleagues are finally being recognised for the jobs they do.

“It’s a shame workers were forced to strike to get to this stage. But we’re all glad they can now get back to providing first-class patient care, safe in the knowledge they’re being properly recognised for their work.”

UNISON rep at Luton & Dunstable Hospital Shabnum Adeel said: “It’s a shame the NHS kept taking advantage of us, but we fought as a united force and got what we deserved.”

UNISON rep at Bedford Hospital Bev Findlay said: “The strikes and meetings with the head of the trust forced the NHS to act and get the recognition staff deserved. All the clinical support workers across both hospitals stood together in solidarity to achieve this.”