Hard-up NHS nurses are finding they have to sell back their annual leave to cope with the cost-of-living crisis, a Mirror investigation has revealed.
A snap poll of 1,000 staff found 15 per cent had flogged their holiday days – accepting payment instead of the time off – while seven in ten said they had worked extra shifts to get by.
Surpressed wages coupled with rampant inflation has left many workers in a perilous position, with scant sign of any help in the near future.
Registered nurse and GMB officer, Holly Turner said: “It’s outrageous that people are having to do this, especially with how high the NHS staff sickness rates are.
“The job is physically and emotionally gruelling and people need that time off. Morale is low and burnout is high.”
Buying and selling annual leave is not a new concept within the NHS.
Staff can apply to buy up to two weeks of extra annual leave and sell up to one week, Ms Turner said.
But unions say selling time off has gone from an occasional event to a “common issue”.
A newly-qualified nurse will be paid just under £100 for giving up a day of annual leave – before tax, said Ms Turner.
Overtime shifts are paid fortnightly too, so it “gets in the pocket quicker” – a sorry sign of how some staff are struggling to cope.