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Government and nurses unable to reach pay agreement

There is still no resolution to the pay dispute in sight, says senior RCN figure

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Health Secretary Steve Barclay are still unable to come to an agreement on nurses’ pay after talks were held today.

RCN director of employment relations and legal services, Joanne Galbraith- Marten responded to the talks with Mr Barclay saying that there was still no resolution to their dispute in sight.

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‘Today’s meeting was bitterly disappointing- nothing for the current year and repeating that ‘the budget is already set’ for next year,’ said Ms Galbraith-Marten.

‘This intransigence is letting patients down. Ministers have a distance to travel to avert next week’s nurse strike.’

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care has said: 'During the meeting the Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said the government would welcome their input into the independent pay review process for 2023/24 and what is affordable, and separately wants to work together to attract, retain and motivate talented people and identify opportunities on efficiency and productivity, such as reducing agency spend.'

The spokesperson said Mr Barclay is keen to continue a dialogue in the next coming days.

Unless an agreement is come to between the RCN and Mr Barclay, nurses will strike again on the 18 and 19 January.

This month’s strikes will be carried out at more NHS employers than last months’ strikes, increasing from 44 to 55 trusts.

Responding to the announcement of more strikes last month, RCN chief executive Pat Cullen said: ‘The Government had the opportunity to end this dispute before Christmas but instead they have chosen to push nursing staff out into the cold again in January. I do not wish to prolong this dispute but the Prime Minister has left us with no choice.’