Hospitals forced to set up Food Banks for NHS Staff
NHS staff in the UK are struggling to make ends meet as prices for basic necessities such as food and fuel continue to rise. Due to this, hospitals and NHS trusts have resorted to setting up food banks and introducing food voucher programs for their staff.
The food banks are a way to help health workers access food, and the voucher programs make essential products available for the staff.
The increase in food prices, the rising cost of housing, and the lack of pay rises have even made some health workers leave their careers.
According to the chair of healthcare and workforce modelling at London South Bank University, Professor Alison Leary, the cost of living crisis has seen 6 NHS trusts reach out to them, very concerned about the severe implications of the crisis.
According to Leary, these NHS organisations are now setting up food banks and food exchanges as a way around this crisis. Some are even providing transport allowances for their staff.
Examples of NHS trusts taking these measures to help their staff include:
- West Hertfordshire
- Norfolk Community Health and Care
- Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust
- Dartford and Gravesham
Additionally, hospitals such as Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and University Hospitals Birmingham have been running food banks for their staff.
After risking their lives to care for others, many healthcare workers have found themselves in difficult financial situations. Thousands have even been forced to leave their careers.
There is a considerable rise in food and fuel prices, and many health workers are struggling to put food on the table.
Considering the high number of patients being admitted to hospitals, the government is being called to do more to help the struggling employees.
Cavell Nurses’ Trust reports that there has been an alarming increase in the number of people looking for financial help in the first quarter of 2022. This is a 140% rise in comparison to the statistics of the same time last year. It is worrying that so many forefront workers are struggling to make ends meet.
Hospitals such as Milton Keynes University Hospital are providing hygiene essentials and welfare food packs for their staff. Thanks to their community kitchen, which was set up a few months ago, health workers can also access ready food at work.
A good deal of organisations have also been providing emergency hardship loans to help the employees with financial constraints.
The government says it understands that the rising cost of living has put a lot of pressure on the NHS and commends the staff for their dedication despite the hardships.
The government says that it’ll be providing financial aid of over £22 billion in 2022-23 to reduce the energy cost for households and ensure that workers have enough money to buy food and other essentials.
Other measures the government claims will be undertaking include:
- Reducing the fuel duty and, in turn, the cost of fuel.
- Cutting taxes for low-paid employees so that they keep a larger portion of their earnings.
- Increasing the threshold at which people start their National Insurance payments.