NHS staffing crisis looms in London and South East's Coronavirus hit hospitals

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"Many NHS cleaners are not willing to risk their lives on poverty pay with no PPE", says GMB Union

An NHS staffing crisis is looming in coronavirus-hit hospitals in London and the South East, GMB warns. 

Hospital cleaners in several London trusts say they no longer intend to expose themselves to hospital environments as they are not willing to risk their lives on poverty pay with no PPE   

One London NHS trust will have a shortage of 40 cleaners this weekend increasing the risk of cross infection on the site.  

Hospital nurses report they cannot get agency nurses to work on coronavirus hit wards and that they are returning to their homes leaving staffing shortages ‘even worse than before’.  

The numbers of coronavirus patients filling hospital wards in London is on the rise and intensive care beds of full of patients who have contracted the deadly virus. 

Helen O’Connor, GMB Organiser, said: “As this crisis escalates daily GMB is getting disturbing reports from NHS members they are not willing to risk their lives on poverty pay with no PPE  

“Staffing levels from nurses right through to cleaners are plummeting and workloads are increasing. 

“We already have a serious recruitment issue in the NHS but this pandemic will worsen it.  

“The NHS is pthe most risky place to work in this country right now because people are certain to encounter seriously ill covid-19 patients. 

"The Government must take urgent action to rectify this situation and attract the people we need on the frontlines into the service. 

"NHS workers are currently putting their lives on the line. The least they should expect is their pay and protective equipment reflects the huge risks they are taking for all of us.” 


Media enquiries: GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at