Comment: NHS was designed to care for patients, not to act as welfare scheme for staff

Commenting on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s decision to veto a blanket pay rise for NHS workers, The Adam Smith Institute’s Research Director, Sam Bowman, said:

“The point of the NHS is to provide care for patients, not to act as a welfare scheme for NHS staff. Since the NHS's budget is limited, all increases in pay would mean foregone spending elsewhere. It may well be the case that NHS patients are better served by additional staff or more investment in medical equipment than they would be by this wage increase.

“Real private sector wages have fallen every year since 2010. Public sector workers already have much greater job security than private sector workers, so it's difficult to see why they should be regarded as being automatically entitled to pay rises that most taxpayers are not experiencing.

“The political wrangling over this decision highlights the need for devolution of pay bargaining to NHS Trusts. National pay bargaining makes little sense given differing labour markets and patient needs across the country: a pay rise that makes sense for patients in Suffolk may not make sense for patients Sunderland.”

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The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.