Savings could lead to pay increase
Peter Carter's speech received a standing ovation on the first day of Congress as he talked about the importance of investing in nurses.
He said the NHS could save up to £3 billion, which would enable all the nurses currently working in the NHS to receive a one per cent pay rise. These figures came from the National Audit Office.
The National Audit Office estimates that if healthcare staff in primary care used more generic medicines the NHS could save about £200 million.
These savings could lead to the investment of up to 70,000 more nurses or award the current workforce a pay rise in line with the Independent Pay Review Body's recommendations.
Mr Carter acknowledged in his speech that nurses were being pushed to 'breaking point' and that many nurses and healthcare assistants were facing job insecurity and concerns over pay.
Suicide prevention in pre-reg education
The RCN Congress voted in favour of including suicide prevention in pre-registration nursing training.
The motion was put forward by the RCN North of Tyne Branch, and stimulated a moving, emotional debate.
Over 90 per cent of nurses voted for the motion that suicide prevention should be taught to all nurses during pre-registration training, rather than left to post-registration training.
As levels of suicide increase, particularly among young men under 35, nurses say that suicide prevention training is more important than ever to ensure that vulnerable patients are supported.
NHS managers pay increased by 6.1 percent
The pay bill for senior NHS managers has accelerated ahead of pay for nursing staff, research by the RCNfound.
The meeting of the RCN Congress deplored the Government's decision to ignore the recommendations of the Independent Pay Review Body and asked the Council to commit to a sustained campaign to protect pay. The majority voted in favour of this campaign.
FOI requests to NHS provider trusts in England revealed that the amount spent on executive directors over the last two years increased by an average of 6.1 per cent compared to a 1.6 per cent rise in earnings for nurses, midwives and health visitors.
The findings of the RCN's All in it together? The executive pay bill in England's NHS were published following the Government's decision to ignore the Independent Pay Review Body's recommendation on nurse's pay. This meant that most nurses will not receive a cost of living increase this year, and for those who will, it equates to less than £5 a week.
In contrast, 50 per cent of trusts have been awarded salary increases of at least £5000 to one or more executive director.
Peter Carter, the chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, called the findings 'another kick in the teeth for hardworking and loyal nursing staff'.
Ninety-six per cent of the nursing staff that responded to the RCN survey said they felt under-valued and under-appreciated. Eighty-three per cent said that the Government's decision was causing anxiety about family finances and household bills. A further 66 per cent said that the Government's decisions about pay have made them seriously consider leaving the NHS.
To see the full report visit: http://bit.ly/1lrFcZ5.
Majority against charging for GP visits
Over 90 per cent of nurses voted against charging a minimum of £10 for general practice appointments at RCN Congress.
The motion was put forward by Andy McGovern, from the RCN inner North East London branch. He said there needed to be informed conversation on the future of the NHS, considering that funding was not being put into general practice but that care was being moved out of hospitals.
Four hundred and forty six nurses voted against charging and 40 voted in favour. Nine abstained.