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16 March 2000


The Government should loosen the "self-imposed Tory shackles on NHS spending" in next week's Budget and give a substantial cash boost to the NHS, health union MSF urged today (Thursday, 16 March).

MSF Head of Health, Roger Kline said: "At the last election, Tony Blair promised the Labour Party would abide by the Conservative public spending plans they inherited for three years."

"That time is now up and the NHS needs substantial extra funding of 12 billion in the next three years to bring the health service up to the European average for healthcare. The NHS can't wait for the comprehensive spending review for the next three years to be completed. Gordon Brown has to throw off these Tory shackles in the Budget."

"Money is needed to tackle the recruitment and retention crisis in the NHS. At present, a skilled trainee with a degree starts on less than 10,000 a year."

Many MSF professionals, such as scientists, and speech and language therapists, outside the Pay Review Body, received 3,25% this year, while 70,000 nurses received 7.5%. To increase the pay of all non-PRB staff by 7% this year - rather than 3.25% - would cost 30 million; less than half the latest loan to bale out the Millennium Dome.

Roger Kline added: "Many of our members worked hard for a Labour victory and can't understand why they continue to get second-class pay rises, even after we have dumped the Scrooge-like Conservative government."

MSF will be having a lobby of the House of Commons on 5 April to press home the case to MPs for more money for low-paid NHS professionals.



For further information, please contact

Roger Kline 0468 69 39 34
Shaun Noble Press Officer (020) 7939 7043 Mobile 0468 69 39 40 MSF

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MSF represents 65,000 health service professionals including the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists, laboratory scientific staff, the College of Health Care Chaplains, the Community Psychiatric Nurses Association, the Medical Practitioners' Union, clinical psychologists, speech therapists, the Hospital Physicists Association and the Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association.

MSF has 400,000 skilled and professional members in a wide range of industries. It is the UK's fifth largest union.