Many nurses are not fully compensated for working longer than their scheduled hours and not taking their allotted breaks, according to a new campaign launched by the RCN.
The RCN's extra hours initiative aims to highlight the contributions made by nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants, which the RCN says props up the NHS. The RCN estimates that, on average, nurses work 3.7 hours extra each week. The campaign aims to ensure that staff are compensated fully for working overtime and missing their breaks. The campaign is urging nurses to claim payment or time off in proportion to their actual hours worked, and the RCN has produced resources to support this.
Dr Peter Carter, the RCN's chief executive, said: 'Day in and day out, nursing staff go above and beyond for their patients. Anyone who has had contact with a member of the nursing profession over recent years will know just how long their working day is and how hard they work.'
Ian Norris, the RCN's London board chair, said: 'Nurses and healthcare assistants work long and stressful days with very few taking their breaks and most having to work far beyond their contracted hours without recompense.'
The campaign, although mainly focused on acute trusts, includes the Central London Community Trust (CLCH). A spokesman from the CLCH said: 'CLCH complies with Agenda for Change pay and conditions for all our staff including our nursing workforce. Overtime pay or time off in lieu is claimed and agreed by managers as appropriate and this is supported by our policies.'
Representatives of the RCN will be hosting sessions for members to enquire about the campaign at the CLCH.
Mr Norris added: 'The government cannot keep demanding more for less and just rely on the goodwill of nursing staff to keep the health service going. It is time for nurses to get paid what they are worth.'