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Coronavirus: NHS workers have 'most important job' –

A support worker stands in a corridor of the NHS Seacole Centre at Headley Court, Surrey, a disused military hospital converted during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA

NHS workers should be given a pay rise, free parking and a bank holiday in their honour, according to a survey of the British public.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults by savings site VoucherCodes found 66% believe NHS staff should be given a pay rise, and almost two in five (39%) even think MPs should take a pay cut and redirect this money to NHS workers.

They should also be entitled to free parking, meals while on duty, increased annual leave and discounted travel, respondents said.

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Brits also want brands to play their part in rewarding NHS staff, with almost two in five (38%) saying businesses should offer “rewards” to key workers after the pandemic.

The study also found Brits now consider supermarket staff and delivery drivers “more important” than bankers and lawyers.

Almost two-thirds (65%) believe delivery drivers and postal workers have important jobs, compared with just 3% for lawyers — the role deemed least significant, alongside office workers.

The most important jobs according to Brits

  1. Nurse (75%)

  2. Doctor (73%)

  3. Supermarket worker (71%)

  4. Emergency service personnel (70%)

  5. Delivery driver (65%)

  6. Postal worker (65%)

With nurses and doctors being ranked as the most important jobs in the UK, 63% of Brits believe the pandemic has served as a “much-needed wake-up call” for the government to give more support to the NHS. More than half (52%) also said the NHS is “substantially underfunded.”

The public has also been quick to acknowledge its own self-proclaimed shortcomings, with more than a third (37%) recognising that before the pandemic, they took NHS workers for granted. 

Just 15% of Brits say NHS staff receive adequate support, and less than one in 10 (9%) think the government “really looks after the health service,” with the same number believing key workers do not deserve extra credit because they are “just doing their jobs.”

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Anita Naik, lifestyle editor at VoucherCodes, said: “NHS staff and other key workers have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to care and provide for the public — in fact, our study shows 57% believe it is key workers that kept the country going. 

“It’s now clear the vast majority believe they should be rewarded for the amazing efforts they have gone to.”