Nurses’ leaders call for ‘significant’ pay rise
Nurses’ leaders are calling for a “significant” pay rise this year, saying that otherwise staff will quit and the NHS will not be able to recover from the pandemic.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is calling for a pay award of 5% above the level of RPI inflation, following the huge controversy over NHS pay since the Covid crisis struck.
The RCN said it will put safe care standards at the centre of its pay campaign this year, explicitly telling ministers that without a significant pay award “more nursing staff will be lost, patient safety will be further compromised and the NHS will simply be unable to recover”.
The RCN said nursing has been hit harder than other professions by the cost-of-living crisis, with buying power affected by wage stagnation and soaring inflation.
If the Government does not listen it will be to the detriment of patients when more and more nursing staff decide to leave the profession
The Government has indicated that NHS pay should increase by about 2% to 3% in the coming year, which determines the initial funding available in all parts of the UK.
In its submission to the NHS Pay Review Body, which reports to ministers in May, the RCN said last year’s NHS award of 3% for most staff failed to make up for a decade of pay “stagnation” and was quickly outstripped by rising costs.
The RCN highlighted recent data from the nursing regulator showing an 11% increase in registered nurses leaving the profession in the UK in 2021 compared with 2020.
RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said: “If the Government does not listen it will be to the detriment of patients when more and more nursing staff decide to leave the profession.
“With three months until they are expected to make an announcement, they must listen to people who work in our health and care services.
“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.
“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.”
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