BRADFORD MP Imran Hussain has called on the Government to increase the pay of NHS workers to boost morale and tackle waiting times in Bradford’s hospitals.

Mr Hussain, who represents Bradford East for Labour, said that Bradford’s NHS staff are overworked and underpaid by the Government and that a significant pay rise would increase staff morale and improve treatment waiting times.

In March 2021 there were almost 30,000 people waiting for treatment at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with almost 9,000 waiting more than 18 weeks and more than 2,000 waiting more than 12 months, according to NHS data analysed by Unison.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a large impact on the waiting list, with some surgeries and operations cancelled due to pressure caused by the virus.

Staff shortages have also increased, with the NHS short of 84,000 full-time staff across England, of which 38,000 are nursing vacancies, meaning that some units in Bradford are unable to meet the demand for care and treatment.

Mr Hussain has slammed the Government for handing NHS staff a pay rise of just one per cent for their tireless work during the Covid pandemic, and called for a “proper pay rise” this summer to stop more staff leaving the profession and causing the waiting list for treatment in Bradford to grow further.

He said: “Over the past year our NHS staff have proven what a credit they are, but under this Government, they are overworked, underpaid and badly valued.

“As a result, far too many eager and experienced but burnt-out staff members are leaving because of the stresses placed on them, leaving our hospitals badly understaffed.

“These staff are as integral to our healthcare system as hospitals, clinics and ambulances are, so poor morale and poor staffing levels result in poorer healthcare and longer waiting times.

“We must therefore ensure we retain more NHS staff and ensure that an NHS career is a viable path that does not leave staff chewed out, starting with an increase to the measly pay rise the Government offered.

“Not only would increasing NHS pay boost morale and help keep experienced staff, ensuring that staff can reduce waiting times, but it would also bring more money into Bradford’s private sector economy, which we badly need as we emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic.

“In a place like Bradford with a high level of existing health inequalities, lengthened waiting lists also make existing problems far worse for everyone, and if we really are to be ‘levelling up’ the country as the Prime Minister repeatedly promises, the Government should start by levelling up healthcare, cutting waiting lists and boosting NHS staff pay.”

The Government previously has defended the pay rise given to NHS staff – pointing out other public sector staff have seen their pay frozen during the pandemic – and has said it is investing “record amounts” in the NHS including in upgrading existing hospitals and building new ones.