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A call has been made by South Down MP Chris Hazzard for the urgent implementation of safe staffing measures in the health and social care sector across the North, and stressed the importance of a wage increase for staff. 

The MP met with senior officials from Unison this week and discussed the vital need for a pay increase for health and social care workers, as well as the implementation of safe staffing to ensure the endurance of our healthcare system and those working within it.

Chris Hazzard

 Mr Hazzard said “We all recognise and value the incredible work of all our health and social care staff; those who provide exceptional care and support to our community day in and day out. However, we cannot claim to support our community through merely thanking Health & Social care staff in the vital work they do for our society. 

“The pressing issues of safe staffing and pay increases have remained unresolved through the pandemic. 

“Our healthcare staff are overworked. They have dealt with things that many of us could not comprehend over this past year, and still they have not received the ability to go to work with safe staffing measures or receive appropriate remuneration for the lifesaving services that they provide." 

The South Down MP added “It was disgusting that the British Government again failed to recognise the huge contribution made by our health workers during this pandemic. 

“The paltry offer of 1% pay increase is totally unacceptable and a kick in the teeth for those workers who have selflessly served our community for decades. 

“The British government must do more, and the British Treasury needs to engage seriously with the health unions to ensure we arrive at a fair and equitable pay settlement. 

“With public sector pay in the north of Ireland currently under consideration by the Executive, it is important that the Minister for Health develops pay proposals for our health workers as a matter of urgency.”

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