Maureen Dolan on the need for fair pay for Northern Ireland nurses
"Delivering an effective health and social care service means ensuring that the workforce is treated fairly. This includes fair pay. During the winter months of 2015-2016, RCN members in Northern Ireland campaigned strongly over the failure of the DHSSPS to agree a pay award for that year, seeking the support of Assembly members and political parties for our #fairpay4NInurses social media campaign. This was highly effective in raising the profile of the issue.
"The RCN welcomed the announcement in February by the Health Minister that he has honoured the recommendations of the independent NHS Pay Review Body in determining the 2016-2017 pay award for nurses. The RCN believes that this is the fairest way to determine nurses’ pay and we urge all Northern Ireland political parties to commit to engaging fully with, and respecting the recommendations of, the NHS Pay Review Body for the 2016-2021 Northern Ireland Assembly mandate.
"In its 2016-2017 report, the NHS Pay Review Body highlighted the pay inequalities affecting the nursing workforce in Northern Ireland. A health care assistant employed in a band 2 post in Northern Ireland is currently paid £806 less per year than a counterpart in England and £1064 less than in Scotland. A newly-qualified band 5 staff nurse in Northern Ireland is currently paid £214 per year less than a counterpart in England and £340 less than in Scotland. An experienced staff nurse in Northern Ireland is currently paid £207 less than a counterpart in England and £567 less than in Scotland. This is simply not acceptable.
"The NHS Pay Review Body has stated that it wishes to give these inequalities a particular focus in its next report, or even before, and to take evidence on this as soon as possible. The RCN welcomes this intention and calls upon all political parties to commit to co-operating with the NHS Pay Review Body and ending the pay inequalities experienced by nurses and other health care staff in Northern Ireland."