The UK’s cost of living crisis shows no signs of abating. Recently released figures show that inflation remains stubbornly high, and the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency warns of possible further hikes to energy prices in the winter.
The UK inflation figure for May 2023 was 8.7%, the same as in April. Food inflation averaged 18.3% although some items such as granulated sugar, eggs, and cheddar cheese have seen prices increase by more than 30% over the past year. So-called ‘core’ inflation which does not include energy and food costs is at its highest level since 1992
NHS worker struggles
NHS workers have been struggling for quite a while with average NHS staff pay still lower (in real terms) in 2021/22 than it was in 2010/11. This has led some to leave the profession entirely, and there are now in excess of 110,000 vacancies within the NHS.
Those who have stayed have been hit by rocketing energy costs, high inflation, higher childcare costs, and seemingly constant increases in interest rates.
In Essex, many have seen rents and mortgage payments increase significantly on top of everything else. Figures from Zoopla showed an average increase in rent of 9.1% in the year to April 2023 in the region, with the average renter now spending over a quarter of their gross salary on their property. Some NHS employees have been forced to move to smaller properties whilst others have had to take on second (or even third) jobs in order to make ends meet.
Additional training options
To boost their earning potential, some NHS workers have opted to take on additional training such as a medication administration course. There are a number of specialist training companies such as www.tidaltraining.co.uk/health-and-social-care-courses/safe-handling-medication-training that offer courses and qualifications to healthcare professionals. Many of these kinds of courses are now available online as well as face-to-face and can be used either to refresh existing skills or to gain new qualifications.
Whilst the current cost of living crisis continues, many people including NHS workers will continue to struggle to stay afloat.