Boris Johnson refuses to give NHS and social care staff a £500 Covid bonus
Johnson refused to back calls to follow Scotland
Boris Johnson has refused to back calls to give a bonus of £500 to NHS staff in England as a show of support.
The prime minister was asked if he would follow the example set in Scotland, where Nicola Sturgeon approved plans to reward health and social care colleagues with a similar payment earlier in the month.
Speaking at the Downing Street press conference, Johnson said: "We do our absolute utmost to support our wonderful NHS staff and indeed have had a three-year pay package for nurses, that I think was 12.8%, and will continue to invest record sums in the NHS.
"I think the amount we invested in the NHS even before the pandemic began was more than any time in modern memory, £34 billion package of investment, and that will continue under this Government."
Speaking at the same press conference, NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said that, having spoken to many working within the health service, such a bonus was far down the priority list.
"I think what I would say is, having talked to many staff across the health service day in day out, actually what people probably want right now is three things," he said.
"First of all, to be able to look forward to some sort of respite from what has been an incredibly demanding and continuous year of pressure.
"Secondly, to know that there are reinforcements on the way, that the staffing pressures in the health service will be taken seriously in the years to come, and there are some encouraging signs on that but we’ve got to do a lot more.
"And then, thirdly, to tackle the pressures in the here and now, which fundamentally are about reducing the number of new patients who are turning up in A&E severely ill with coronavirus day in, day out.
"So it's that combination I think, the sense that there will be some respite, the sense that the health service will get resilient with the staffing support it needs in the years to come, but for right now, that actually we collectively turn off the incessant new admissions that are arriving with very severely ill coronavirus patients."