We owe junior doctors and all NHS staff our full support. Day in, day out, they make an incredible contribution to our health service; their bravery and selfless dedication throughout the pandemic represent the very best of our society.
I know that people in our constituency and across the country have the upmost respect and admiration for the work that they do.
However, health professionals face ever-increasing pressures, as the NHS continues to deal with backlogs that will take years to clear. Despite the remarkable efforts of staff, I am concerned that years of neglect and mismanagement by the Government has resulted in record NHS waiting lists and chronic staff shortages.
Years of pay freezes and burnout are affecting hard-pressed staff; work-related stress has increased, and mental health is consistently the most reported reason for staff absences.
Our health service entered the pandemic with 100,000 vacancies and now, over two years later, there are still over 100,000 vacancies across NHS trusts, and it is unlikely that these will be filled any time soon.
Without a robust long-term workforce strategy, our NHS will simply not be in a place to provide the support that patients need now and in the future. We know that valuing our NHS workforce, through fair pay and conditions, is crucial to retaining staff and tackling the many vacancies across the NHS.
I have therefore written to the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay, and raised the issue of junior doctors’ pay with him. I have posted a copy of this letter below for you to see.