Amid fears the cost of living crisis could hit NHS staff hard, leaders at Newcastle hospitals have pledged to do “everything possible” to support workers.
Dame Jackie Daniel, chief executive of Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust, opened a board meeting this week by discussing the “wider financial pressures” hitting staff.
She said the trust’s human resources director, Dee Fawcett, had led numerous working groups with staff looking at the support needed, and added: ‘We are all seeing the impact on staff of the increased cost of living. We will continue to look at everything we can do to support our staff. And the impact of strong leadership has never been greater.
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In a report presented to the board, she added: “No one is immune from the current economic situation, and as a trust we are particularly aware of the impact that high inflation is having on patients and the personal.
“We have taken steps to provide additional support to staff where we can, temporarily increasing mileage rates to reflect the current high cost of gas and offering a discount on public transport season tickets. These measures are in addition to our existing offerings of financial wellness guidance and support.”
Ms Fawcett also paid tribute to the staff who, despite mounting pressures and “complicated lives”, continued to come to work and were dedicated to patient care. She said: “We have employees who are really hurting and really struggling because of rising prices and the rising cost of living.
“We try to ensure that we have a range of opportunities for staff to access support. If they feel supported and cared for at work, they will show up at work. Many of our staff have complicated lives , but no matter what , they show up to work and take care of our patients.They continue to go above and beyond.
Previously, the UNISON union had asked NHS bodies – such as Newcastle – to improve mileage rates and pledge not to reintroduce staff parking charges. At the Newcastle Hospitals Trust, everyone who is allowed to park on site continues to have free parking.