Recent evidence has suggested that the pay situation among NHS staff is becoming so serious that some individuals have opted to stack shelves in supermarkets as an alternative.
The leader of NHS Providers suggests that workers have been able to earn more money for lesser stress in this environment.
Chris Hopson believes that workers are leaving because pay in the health service has not remained commensurate with rises in some parts of the private sector.
Hopson believes that the NHS is struggling to recruit staff owing to pay restraints imposed by the government.
And staff at lower band grades within the NHS system are thus seeking alternative modes of employment.
Hopson even suggested that “lower banded staff were going off to stack shelves in Sainsbury’s because they could get [better pay] that way”.
51.5 per cent of NHS employees across HCHS and GP services are professionally qualified clinical staff, while a further 26.6 per cent provide support to clinical staff in roles such as nursing assistant practitioners, nursing assistant/auxiliaries and healthcare assistants.
It is also suggested that care homes are successfully poaching staff from the NHS, with organisations across England having increased pay as a result of the living wage campaign.
Hopson told an NHS Providers conference in Birmingham that the health service was now facing “impossible” demands amid squeezed finances and shortages of staff.
The chief executive even asserted that the risks to services from this phenomenon are so high that the NHS is threatened with a “long, slow inexorable decline” amid longer waiting lists, increased rationing, and a crisis in social care.
An NHS Partners Network survey shows that more than 69,000 individuals are involved in providing front-line services to NHS patients among their membership.
Approximately two-thirds of these are clinicians.
Hopson has been criticised in some quarters for his £200,000 salary after making repeated demands for increased NHS funding.