More than half of the public think that the country can afford to increase nurses’ pay, according to a survey by the RCN.
The survey of 2014 people found that 57% thought that pay for nurses could be raised, despite claims by the government that it is unaffordable. It also found that 22% of the public believe there is not enough money available to pay nurses more, while only 13% thought that nurses’ current pay reflect the level of skills required for the profession.
‘Nursing staff are increasingly demoralized,’ said Janet Davies, chief executive of the RCN. ‘For too long they have been told that there is not enough money to pay a fair wage to NHS staff, and they have seen their living standards drop as a result.’
It also found that 76% of respondents believed that nurses are paid too little and 46% would be willing to pay extra in income tax to go directly towards nurses’ salaries. Pay for nurses and other public sector staff was capped at 1% increases each year for the next four years in the post-election budget in June.
‘Restraining pay while demand increases is a false economy, making it harder for the NHS to hold on to the staff it needs and increasing the expensive reliance on temporary staff,’ Ms Davies added. ‘Nursing staff will be pleased and touched by the public’s overwhelming support and confidence in them, and their vital work. They would be equally pleased to see the Government share the public’s gratitude and appreciation by re-thinking their stance on nursing pay. A 1% cap is not the way to show loyal and dedicated nursing staff that they are valued and it needs to be rethought.’