What Level of Pay Rise Should Paramedics Expect in 2013?
We are living in financially turbulent times, an age which is characterised by harsh spending cuts and increasing inflation. NHS staff including paramedics, midwives, nurses and doctors has had to live with a pay freeze for the past two years. This pay freeze is finally set to end in April 2013, but will the coming financial year see any significant rise in pay?
The National Health Service has seen unprecedented cuts and changes since 2010. There have been more than 21,000 job losses, and spending cuts of huge proportions, and around 1,000 job posts are being tagged as ‘at risk’ every month within the NHS. The pay freeze for paramedics and other NHS staff has been going on for the past two years. With rising inflation many posts on lower bands are struggling to keep up with increasing living costs.
The latest budget by the coalition government sees public sector pay rises capped at 1% over the coming year. But that is not all; the Chancellor of the Exchequer (George Osborne) has announced that salaries of public sector workers including paramedics will remain at below inflation levels until at least 2016.
Automatic pay progression simplifies annual pay rises by linking them directly to experience, and this is how the system currently works for NHS staff, including paramedics. The system has already been scrapped for teachers by the Department of Education. George Osborne has also commented on reforms in the annual pay progression system within the public sector whereby rises in pay are connected with the number of years served.
Unions that represent paramedics and other NHS workers including nurses and midwives have claimed that many public sector employees are receiving pay that is below living wages and that despite the strikes and protests, the situation has worsened with the new budget rather than improved.
While tensions between the staff continue to worsen, and unions continue to protest against this minimal pay rise, NHS employers have already raised concerns about it and stated that the NHS cannot possibly afford to spend the additional £500 million for the pay rise that is set to start from next month. NHS authorities have warned that resources are scarce to begin with, and that spending on pay rises for staff could mean compromising on patient care.
Many paramedics are struggling to cope with rising expenses on the salaries they receive at the moment. Despite enduring the pay freeze for the past two years, paramedics are not likely to see anything more than a 1% pay rise this year, and salaries for many are likely to remain well below inflation levels.
Paramedics have some of the most stressful jobs in society – they often have to work very long hours and under highly stressful conditions to save people’s lives. Vastly inadequate remuneration, increased pressure on existing staff due to cuts in human resource, as well as other resources, can ultimately translate into compromised service and this is a concern for society at large.