NHS bosses have indicated their belief that the pay cut for staff working within the NHS must be lifted in order to ensure patient safety.
NHS Providers suggests that the current pay situation in the NHS is causing severe recruitment and retention difficulties.
As it stands, pay rises are limited to 1% annually between now and 2019.
But NHS Providers has called on whichever party wins the imminent general election to reassess the decision immediately.
The Labour Party has stated that it will look to increase the pay of NHS staff should it win the election, but neither the Conservative party nor the Liberal Democrats have set out any plans related to this matter.
However, the Liberal Democrats have announced their plan to increase income tax by a penny in the pound in order to boost investment in the National Health Service.
The Public Accounts Committee warned last year that the NHS in England faces a deficit of 50,000 frontline staff; over 5% of the workforce.
NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson suggests that the situation is so bad that members of NHS staff are moving into menial work as a viable alternative to working within the healthcare system.
“Growing problems of recruitment and retention are making it harder for trusts to ensure patient safety. Unsustainable staffing gaps are quickly opening up. Pay is becoming uncompetitive,” added Mr Hopson. “Significant numbers of trusts say lower paid staff are leaving to stack shelves in supermarkets rather than carry on working in the NHS.”
Hopson added that uncertainty surrounding Brexit meant that “vital recruitment from EU countries is dropping rapidly”, asserting that “pay restraint must end.”
In the current climate, the Royal College of Nursing has already decided to ballot members on whether or not they should strike over pay.
Should a strike be approved, it would be the first time in the history of the Royal College that nurses have taken at such a measure.
The authoritative organisation particularly cites pay freezes and cats which have effectively led to a 14% pay cut since the turn of the decade, owing to inflation.
RCN general secretary Janet Davies pulled no punches when commenting on the issue.
“The government cannot ignore this warning from hospital bosses – poor pay for NHS staff damages patient care. If it now pays more to stack supermarket shelves than work on the wards, ministers should hang their heads in shame.”
But a Conservative party spokesman suggested that the policy of the party is the only viable approach to NHS pay.
“The truth is that in order to continue to invest in the NHS, grow staff numbers and pay and improve patient care, we need to secure the economic progress we’ve made and get a good Brexit deal. That is only on offer at this election with the strong and stable leadership of Theresa May.”