HEALTH staff across the region are campaigning for a 'significant pay rise' of at least £2,000 early for every worker in the NHS.

Nurses, paramedics, cleaners, domestics and porters – began two days of campaigning today (Friday).

Staff in UNISON branches based in NHS hospitals, ambulance stations and clinics are using social media and taking part in socially distanced events to 'press home the message' that health workers deserve more than applause for their efforts during the pandemic.

Health workers want to see the Government show its appreciation for staff by bringing forward the pay rise due in April.

This early wage increase – equivalent to around £1 an hour extra for all staff – could give ailing local economies a much-needed boost as workers spend the extra money in their pockets on the high street, says UNISON.

With the arrival of autumn, and the increasing rates of infection, UNISON believes now is the perfect time for the Government to show the high regard in which ministers say they hold NHS staff.

UNISON West Midlands regional secretary Ravi Subramanian said: “Infection rates are rising in care homes and out in the wider community, and hospital admissions are on the up.

“The pressure on staff is beginning to build again, as the NHS tries to open services shut earlier in the year and deal with the backlog of cancelled appointments and operations.

“That’s why now would be the perfect time for the Prime Minister and Chancellor to show they can do more than clap for NHS staff, and demonstrate their appreciation in a much more practical way.

“Boris Johnson’s pie-in-the-sky plans for any time, any place, anywhere ‘moonshot’ testing would cost a mindboggling £100bn. An early pay rise for NHS staff would be a tiny fraction of that and would make a huge difference to individuals and the services they help provide.

“Investing in the NHS and its incredible staff is a must for the government. It would help the health service tackle the mounting staff shortages that were already causing huge problems even before the virus hit.

“An early pay rise would also be the country’s best way of saying a heartfelt thank you to every single member of the NHS team.”