GMB in patient care warning as study finds 30,000 NHS workers on zero hours contracts

At least 30,000 NHS workers are employed on zero hours contracts after a huge increase in recent years, a study suggests.

The GMB said the true number is likely to be higher as the statistics may not include outsourced workers, or those employed through subsidiary companies that are not bound by nationally agreed employment standards.

The number of NHS workers in the UK employed on a zero hours contract has increased fourfold since 2013, much faster than the increase in the wider economy, said the union.

Its review of job adverts found that zero hours roles are being advertised by NHS employers, private contractors and wholly owned subsidiaries.

The GMB said it had encountered a wide range of problems relating to zero hours contracts in the NHS, including failure to pay proper overtime rates.

GMB national officer Rehana Azam (pictured) said: “The NHS is under enormous pressure and cuts and privatisation are linked to a rise in so-called gig economy working.

“If you are employed on a zero hours contract then you are denied financial security and the right to predict your hours, and they can make it impossible to access mortgages.

“A pressured, demoralised and casualised workforce will end up impacting on patient care.

“Zero hours contracts have no place in the NHS or elsewhere, and these figures may represent the tip of the iceberg.

“We need a new system that preserves some degree of flexibility while ending contracts that do not.”

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