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Preston man’s petition to increase pay for Health Care Assistants to be discussed in Parliament

Posted on - 23rd June, 2020 - 4:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Campaigns, Health, People, Politics, Preston News
Shane sitting with a sign which says "Give us a pay rise Boris!"
Shane launched the petition after his social media post went viral. Pic: Shane Longton

A petition started by a Preston Health Care Assistant (HCA) has been timetabled for discussion by parliament’s Petition Committee.

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Shane Longton, 37, set up the petition which now has over 160,000 signatures and is due to be discussed by the governments petition committee on Thursday (June 25).

Shane, who works as a HCA at Clifton Hospital in Lytham St Annes, posted on social media in February about his anger around being called an unskilled worker and believes that his salary does not reflect the job they do.

Read More: Preston care homes thankful for hand sanitiser donations

After his post reached over 20,000 people, Shane decided to start a petition on the government’s website in a hope for HCA’s to get a pay boost.

He said: “I was hoping to get ten thousand signatures but after the clap for carers movement started that shot up overnight to fourteen thousand.

“That then shot up to 30,000 signatures, 66,000 signatures then reaching the milestone 100,000 signatures.”

Since his post went viral, Shane has reached out to celebrities, inspired by Marcus Rashford’s work during the pandemic, and has received backing from celebrities including model and radio presenter Lisa Snowdon and UK Rapper Genesis Elijah.

Preston MP Mark Hendrick has also supported Shane, both signing and sharing the petition on social media.

Mr Hendrick said: “It is appalling that NHS care workers has been so low paid over the years and particularly at a time with Covid-19 when they are putting their lives at risk; I think it is essential that they are properly remunerated.

“I welcome the fact that the Petitions Committee saw fit to provide time for a debate on their plight and I hope that the Minister present for that debate will recognise that they are significantly underpaid for the tremendous work that they do.

“I also hope the Minister will instruct the government to increase their pay at the earliest opportunity.”

Unions have successfully secured a pay rise for NHS staff in a three year system in which NHS employees will receive a pay rise year on year, but Shane said this still doesn’t meet the cost of living or do justice to the work HCA’s are doing.

The petition was launched prior to the coronavirus lockdown in the country which has seen NHS staff across the country overwhelmed with support from the public, including the ten-week Thursday night clap for carers.

Shane has said that his role as a Health Care Assistant has changed dramatically during the pandemic and they have undertaken online training courses in dealing with the death of coronavirus patients and new CPR procedures.

He said: “I don’t ever want to hear anyone called unskilled in the NHS again and taking someone’s blood isn’t unskilled.

“I do believe that the general public have so much more appreciation now for the NHS.

“The window into the world of the NHS has opened up dramatically, more than it ever has before because of this pandemic.

“It’s not just about the money, it’s the appreciation with that change being made.”

Read More: Two new cases of coronavirus confirmed in Preston as hospitals record no new deaths on Sunday June 21

In their initial response to the petition after hitting 10,000 signatures, the Department of Health and Social Care responded to Shane’s petition saying: “The independent Pay Review Bodies make annual recommendations on pay rises for NHS staff.

“The Pay Review Bodies are made up of experts and their recommendations are based on comprehensive assessment of evidence from key stakeholders, including NHS system partners and trade unions.

“As part of our ambition to make the NHS the best employer in the world, the Department of Health and Social Care has reached multi-year pay and contract reform agreements with trade unions across the NHS workforce.”

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