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Allowance campaign launched for heathcare workers in Thames Valley

Allowance campaign launched for heathcare workers in Thames Valley

Published by Charlotte Fisher at 1:46pm 7th February 2019.

A campaign for a living allowance for healthcare works in Buckinghamshire was launched by a union today.

A meeting at Stoke Mandeville Hospital was held by Unison alongside Chief Executive of Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust, Neil Macdonald.

Staff shortages and extra stress is being blamed on the higher living costs here.

Staffing levels in the NHS and local government have crashed to record lows, with 15-20% of positions vacant in Buckinghamshire.

Steve Bell is the Branch Secretary for Unison and says a Thames Valley Living Allowance will help Trusts keep staff:

"Last week I spoke to a colleague, who lives in High Wycombe but has moved employment to a London Trust, where she gets an allowance.

"So, she's now travelling 10 miles to get an increase in her pay, just to make ends meet."

Unison want to get the support of MPs, who can take this to government and hopefully get the resources that are necessary:

"We are going to be taking this to the MPs in Buckinghamshire, to get them to raise this too.

"We think the people of Buckinghamshire deserve a quality health service.

"That's what staff want to give, but at present feel that they're not able to."

Neil Macdonald, Chief Executive of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, is supporting Unison's campaign and has told us:

“One of the key issues facing our Trust is that there aren’t enough people coming to work in the health service, particularly nurses.

"Whilst this is a national issue, the situation is not helped in Buckinghamshire because of the high cost of living in the area.

"The average rent in Buckinghamshire is 39% above the national average whilst the average house costs over £400,000 to buy compared to £225,631 nationally.

"Whilst some public sector workers in the Thames Valley already receive an additional allowance to compensate for the high cost of living in the area, this is not the case for our staff in Buckinghamshire.

"This is why we are supporting Unison’s campaign for a Thames Valley cost of living allowance for all public sectors workers in the south east region.”

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