2014 presented primary care nurses with many challenges, but a great deal was achieved as well. These were the top news stories that covered the mainstream news as well as the nursing news.
In January, the NMC launched the first phase of its consultation on a new model of revalidation, where a nurse requires third party feedback. The changes to the revalidation model were introduced as a result of the recommendations of the Francis Report. Concerns were raised at the RCN's congress in July over the NMC's ability to make revalidations work effectively. The first pilots for revalidation were announced in October, with primary care locations revealed in November. The NMC are aiming for at least two practices per country.
March: Pay rejection
In February, health secretary Jeremy Hunt rejected recommendations from the NHS Pay Review Body to give all NHS workers a one per cent pay rise. Instead, they continued to receive incremental pay increases from 1 April. Workers in Scotland received the one per cent pay rise. The move provoked widespread anger from nursing unions. These events led to October's industrial action.
October: NMC fee rise
In October, after consultations with nurses and midwives, the NMC decided to raise its fees by £20, from £100 to £120. The organisation stated that the move was necessary due to the rising number of fitness to practice final hearings, which cost approximately £13,000 each. Nonetheless, it still provoked fury amongst nurses and midwives, many of whom thought that the rise was wholly inappropriate at a time when the living standards of nurses and midwives are squeezed by the government's refusal to award a one per cent pay increase.
As a result of the pay freeze, healthcare workers went on strike through October and November. The unions participating in strike were the RCM, Unite and Unison. The RCN declined to ballot their members on industrial action, preferring to rely on negotiation to achieve its goals. Unions in Wales balloted for strike action but called it off after the Welsh Government agreed to negotiate on pay.