NHS staff in Southend have slammed a “pitiful” and “barely beneficial” one per cent pay rise.

Save Southend NHS and Southend Hospital nurse Lisa Ward have joined growing frustration across the country following last week’s budget.

Nursing union The Royal College of Nursing warned of a “backlash” against the pay rise, suggesting nurses should be getting 12.5 per cent more.

Downing Street has defended the proposal saying it was what was “affordable”.

A spokesman from Save Southend NHS said: “These workers were dubbed the heroes of the pandemic.

“We had politicians applauding from their doorsteps. This so-called pay rise proves how undervalued the NHS is to the Government.

“It’s a real slap in the face to NHS staff.

“The pay rise doesn’t even cover the cost of parking costs at hospitals.

“And when you consider the area we live in, house prices are high.”

Lisa Ward lead respiratory nurse at Southend Hospital, took to social media to share her frustration.

She said: “I’m disgusted. A pay rise? Given the last ten years, we need ‘pay back’.

“I believe the monies can be found by government if they put value on our professions and the risks we face.”

More than one million public sector workers will see a pay freeze next year, while those earning less than £24,000 are guaranteed a pay rise of at least £250.

The spokesman for the campaign group, added: “There’s no point in this pay rise at all.

“Enough is enough.

“We will continue to campaign for a 15 per cent pay rise.

“It’s what NHS staff deserve.”

The NHS Pay Review Body is due to recommend salary levels for health service staff before early May, when ministers then make a final decision.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The recommended 1 per cent pay rise for NHS staff is what is affordable while acknowledging their work and commitment over the last 12 months.”