Karen Morley-Williams (pictured, second from right), a Radiology Assistant in a Greater Manchester hospital x-ray department, said:
“We have two young children and it’s hard not being able to take them on holiday every year. We just have to live week to week and can’t do anything special without saving up. It’s no fun living in your overdraft, and it’s worse for some of my colleagues. There are staff in the NHS who are really on the breadline.”
Terry Jeggo (pictured, centre) works as a domestic in a local hospital. He said:
“I work part-time because I’m the main carer for my Mum. I get paid weekly and by the end of the week we’re struggling – we end up having spaghetti on toast. I have to think twice about putting the heating on. I feel like we’ve done our bit towards austerity now.”
Health workers are currently engaged in industrial action after their living standards have fallen by 10% over the last 4 years. This year Mr Hunt chose not to accept the Pay Review Body recommendation to pay even a 1% cost of living rise to all staff.
MPs are in line for a 10% pay rise next year, while directors of FTSE 100 companies have seen their pay rise by over 20% in the past year. Mr Hunt is reported to have a personal fortune of over £4m and to be set to receive a further windfall of £17m in a deal with a private equity firm.
UNISON North West Head of Health Amy Barringer said:
“Health workers are really struggling to make ends meet. Some are having to take on second jobs, others have to rely on in-work benefits or even food banks. There are NHS workers in Greater Manchester who have had to put up with toothache while they save up to afford dental treatment.
“Health staff don’t think that Mr Hunt understands the consequences of his actions. He tells them that they are the NHS’s greatest asset but it does not feel like that. There is an urgent need for proper funding of the NHS and fair pay for NHS workers.
“It’s a shame that he did not take the opportunity to meet with some NHS staff today and hear about their experiences directly from them.”
Mr Hunt was in Manchester to address NHS Chief Nursing Officers at the Hilton Hotel.