74% want ‘Better pay and working conditions’ for healthcare staff from next government

  • 49% healthcare staff in favour of NHS National Service for 18 year olds

  • 46% plan to vote Labour vs 12% Conservative

  • 40% report worsening working conditions under Conservative leadership

  • 54% would strike in the future

  • 74% want ‘Better pay and working conditions’ for healthcare staff from next government

  • 68% support a ‘National Care Service’ NHS-equivalent for social care services

A survey of frontline NHS and social care nurses and care assistants by Florence reveals just 12% plan to vote for the Conservative Party in the UK General Election on July 4th, compared to 46% supporting Labour. Support for the Tory policy of national service for 18-year-olds including volunteering in the NHS, was split however, with 49% in favour.

80% of respondents said they will definitely or probably vote on July 4th, and 36% said ‘The economy, cost of living, and jobs’ was most influential to their vote, surpassing the second-highest response of ‘healthcare and NHS funding’ at 27%.

45% of respondents said they trust Labour most to handle NHS and social care issues effectively, vs 10% for the Conservatives, while 28% are undecided.

‘Better pay and working conditions’ topped the list of changes workers want to see from the next government, with 74% highlighting this as a priority. An ‘increase in overall funding for NHS and social care services’ was important to 58%, while 45% called for ‘more training and professional development opportunities’.

Indeed, 68% of respondents said they’d like to see a National Care Service established, similar to the National Health Service, to better support social care workers. The next government is urged to prioritise significant pay raises for healthcare workers, implement robust mental health and wellness programs, and simplify visa processes to support skilled healthcare workers from abroad.

49% were also in strong support of immigration visas for skilled workers, recognising the policy’s (short-term) effectiveness in addressing staffing shortages. As vacancies in the NHS top 121,000 and 152,000 in social care, workers on Health and Care Visas are recognised to have given vital support to the struggling system. As one respondent put it: “There is a critical shortage of staff in the NHS and international nurses have made the burden less, though the shortage is still looming.”

The survey also shed light on the challenges faced by healthcare workers under the current government.

41% reported worsening working conditions since the Conservative party took leadership, citing higher patient-to-staff ratios, longer working hours, and insufficient financial support for care facilities as key factors.

One respondent noted, “Too many patients for the NHS to cope with. My usual emergency department used to have around 115 patients on the screen at a time on a bad day. This is now a good day and we’ve been known to have 300 patients at a time in the department.”

54% said they would strike in the future for better pay and working conditions, although 42% felt previous strikes had not been effective.

Dr. Charles Armitage, founder of Florence, emphasised the importance of addressing these concerns: “The voices of our frontline NHS and social care workers are clear—they need better pay, improved working conditions, and more support from the government. This survey underscores the urgency of taking meaningful action to support the dedicated professionals who are the backbone of our healthcare system. As we approach the general election, it is crucial for political leaders to listen and respond to the needs of these essential workers.”

Our findings underscore the critical need for leaders to address the crisis engulfing NHS and social care workers, who are essential to delivering the health and wellbeing of the nation.

Florence proposes ten essential policy actions for the next government to mitigate the staffing crisis we are faced with, including: increasing healthcare funding, standardising pay for social care workers on parity with the NHS, and promoting real health tech innovation. The full list of health and social care policy calls is here.


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