The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is urging the UK and Welsh governments to ‘do the right thing’ by reconsidering the 3% pay award for NHS staff.
A consultation of eligible RCN members in England showed that 91.7% of members said that the award is unacceptable. In Wales the figure was 93.9%. The RCN says the matter is in politicians’ hands and governments can avoid further escalation by taking action to pay nursing staff fairly.
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‘Just a week after Boris Johnson talked about ‘good wages’ for nursing staff, they are delivering a clear verdict on his NHS pay award. Today, we are placing the matter back in the hands of politicians and asking what they are going to do next. Ministers must avoid a further escalation of this situation. Faced with this result, they can signal they intend to listen and do the right thing,’ said RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive Pat Cullen.
‘Our members expect to see action from governments across the UK to pay nursing staff fairly. It is against the best interests of the health service, staff and patients for this issue to remain unaddressed - ministers are pushing people out of nursing when there are tens of thousands of unfilled jobs and patient care is being impacted.’
In Northern Ireland, the Minister for Health said he has accepted the pay review recommendations in full but nursing staff in the country will have to wait until October to see if the additional funding requested from the Northern Ireland Executive will be made available. In Scotland, RCN members continue to be in a trade dispute with the Scottish government and NHS Scotland employers after they rejected an offer which gave them an average 4% pay increase.
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‘RCN members have made their voice heard and ministers in Westminster and Cardiff must think again about how they are treating nursing staff. Members deserve to be paid fairly - nursing has earned it and our patients deserve it,’ said Graham Revie, Chair of the RCN Trade Union Committee.
‘Unsafe staffing levels hamper patient care. Fair pay is one major way of keeping people in work and attracting the next generation into our profession. The future of this campaign will always be determined by RCN members – this campaign is led by members like me in the interests of the whole profession.’