Writing to your MP about NHS pay: a
 guide for RCM members

Everyone in the UK has an MP – and their job is to represent their constituents in Parliament.

Sometimes it may not feel like it, but MPs do pay attention to the messages they receive from their constituents. Because they receive so many – hundreds if not thousands of messages every week – the more effort someone puts into their message, the more it stands out – and the more impact it has. The gold standard is a handwritten letter sent in the post.

And handwritten letters from several people have more impact than one letter from just one person, so a group writing and sending letters together – written by hand and in their own words – can have impact.

So, what should you put in your letter? It needn’t be long – in fact, short letters that are to the point are better. It doesn’t need to be formal, in fact letters written in straightforward, everyday language are by far the best.

If you need to, start off by finding out (or just double-checking) who your MP is by using this webpage: https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP

You should mention, ideally in the first line or two that you are a constituent. By convention, MPs don’t reply to people who live outside the areas they represent. You will need to write your address somewhere on the letter too, of course, which will confirm this for them.

In the body of your letter – and three or four short paragraphs are more than enough – you may wish to cover some, or all, of these points:

  • Tell them about how you are being affected by the cost of living crisis and how your NHS pay is not covering these rising costs. What is happening to your energy bills? What about how much you are paying for food, for petrol or for public transport fares? Examples from the real world – from your everyday experience – of how dwindling NHS pay is hitting you are really effective.
  • There are not enough NHS midwives nationwide and, in many areas, midwife numbers are falling. Tell them how hard you and your midwife and MSW colleagues are having to work. If retaining maternity staff is a problem where you work, tell them – and tell them too that a decent pay rise would help to keep hold of them.
  • If you are having financial difficulties and are comfortable telling them about it, please do so.
  • Ask them if they support the Government improving the pay deal for this year, with a renewed decent pay rise. And ask them to write to the Secretary of State, the Chancellor and the Prime Minister to ask them to back a decent pay rise for NHS staff.

It is as simple as that. Be clear and polite.

You may get a reply that seems disappointing, where they don’t say anything very supportive, but don’t think that means your message hasn’t had an impact. We know from speaking to politicians confidentially that they will be speaking with ministers and others behind the scenes to try to get a better deal, even if they feel they can’t speak about it publicly. Every single message helps, and the more the better.

And never think that if you have a Conservative MP, for example, that it is not worth the effort. In fact, while reaching all MPs is important, writing to an MP from a governing party is always the most impactful because people like the Prime Minister care more about what their own MPs think than what Opposition MPs think.

Finally, before sticking a stamp on envelope, write your MP’s name on it and address it to:

House of Commons

And that’s it. Just remember to pop it in the post and wait from the reply.

If you are happy to do so, please send a scanned version of any reply to the RCM, or just a photo of it taken on your phone. You can send these to [email protected].

Although your letters will have the biggest impact if they are handwritten and we would encourage you and other members to come together to write these, you can also use this tool to send a quick email to your MP - Take action - #WithNHSStaff.