Primary care nurses ‘must make their voice heard’

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Primary care nurses (PCNs) who feel ignored or sidelined must make their voices heard over pay and staffing complaints, according to the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing.

Speaking exclusively to Independent Nurse, Janet Davies urged PCNs to mobilise and form or join groups in order to have a presence in the disputes over nursing pay and staffing the RCN is set to engage in with the government over its ‘summer of protest’.

While PCN pay is usually set by the providers and trusts they work for individually, rather than decided by the government, their pay levels are usually kept in line with national policy - meaning the 1% cap in pay rises which has dominated discussions at the RCN Congress 2017 in Liverpool has a knock-on effect on primary care pay rates.

RCN members voted by a large majority to mobilise into industrial action in protest to the cap and the college announced it will be devising a programme of protest activity for the summer. A mandate for a formal strike has yet to be established.

Ms Davies said: ‘While we can’t act exactly like a trade union we will be advising primary care nurses individually, guiding them through our actions over the pay cap and getting it reversed by the government.

‘We understand PCNs might feel like they don’t have a voice in the RCN but to that I would say join us. Become a member, join a primary care group of nurses, put motions forward for meetings and Congress. If you feel you don’t have a voice, mobilise and get one. You are always welcome in the RCN.’

According to Ms Davies, the RCN cannot carry out activities in the same way as a trade union but would still be confronting primary care providers on their pay rates as they will the government, though specific approaches would be figured out on a local level tailored to each provider.

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