Plaid Cymru have called for pay rises to all NHS and social care staff in recognition of their work during the Coronavirus crisis.

Plaid Cymru Shadow Health Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth said that health and social care workers were putting their lives on the line during the crisis and “the least that could be done” was to raise their pay.

The Shadow Health Minister said care staff should have “parity of pay” with NHS staff by moving all social care staff to NHS terms and conditions.

Mr ap Iorwerth said this would mean a “pay rise for the majority of social care workers” and would put an end to zero hours contracts and casualisation.

Mr ap Iorwerth added that NHS workers also “deserve better” and after a “decade of pay freeze and real term cuts”, real term rises should be “given to all”.

He added that should include “proper bursaries for student nurses” and protected training time.

The Shadow Health Minister said that he hoped the “positive” that would come of this “nightmare” would be recognition and valuing health and care services and the realisation that “we have to pay for them properly”.

Plaid Cymru Shadow Health Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth AM said,

“This crisis has truly exposed the year on year impact of cruel cuts and the way in which social care is seen as a second class service. With outbreaks in many care homes, the need for far better conditions and a valued workforce couldn’t be clearer. Imagine if all care homes had been supplied with PPE from the start? How many lives would have been saved?

“Plaid Cymru is therefore calling for all care staff to have parity of pay and terms and conditions with NHS staff by moving social care staff onto NHS terms and conditions. This would mean a pay rise for the majority of social care workers, as well finally putting an end to zero-hour contracts and casualisation.

“Our NHS workers also deserve better. Having experienced a decade of pay freezes and real terms cuts under austerity, we must spend the next decade doing the opposite and giving real terms rises to all - as well as ensuring proper bursaries for student nurses and protected training time.

“We also need to reverse the year on year on cuts to Local Government to ensure that they too are properly financed in order to properly remunerate care staff.

“Health and social care workers are putting their lives on the line for us through this crisis. The very least we can do is show them we value them by giving them access to testing, adequate PPE, and raising their pay and work conditions.

“I hope the positive that comes out of this nightmare is that we remember how much we treasure our health and care services, but also that we realise we have to pay for them properly. If we want a good, sustainable health and care service, we need to pay for it . We need the right resources, the right people, paid properly, and not carrying an unsustainable workload.