The RCN has set out its UK pay position for 2022-23, warning ministers that they must rethink current pay plan or risk staff losses that erode safe care standards.
The organisation says that ministers must turn the tide on years of unfilled nursing jobs by giving staff a pay award of 5% above inflation. This comes as the NHS pay review body (PRB) process runs for England, Northern Ireland and Wales with direct negotiations in Scotland imminent.
The PRB advises governments on Agenda for Change pay, terms and conditions and takes evidence from trade unions, employers and governments. At the time the RCN submitted its evidence, the Retail Price Index (RPI) measure of inflation was 7.5%.
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‘If the government doesn’t listen to us, it will be to the detriment of patients when more and more nursing staff decide to leave the profession,’ said RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive Pat Cullen.
‘With three months until they’re expected to make an announcement, they must listen to people who work in our health and care services.’
Last month, the UK government indicated an NHS pay award of 2-3% for staff in England for 2022-23. The amount set aside for NHS pay in Westminster determines the initial funding available in all parts of the UK.
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‘When a nurse or health care support worker feels no alternative but to leave, it becomes ever more challenging to provide highly effective care and treatment. They deserve salaries fitting of a safety critical profession,’ added Ms Cullen.
‘By summer, ministers must come back with a pay award that turns the tide on the years of unfilled nursing jobs and experienced professionals struggling to make ends meet.’