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Campaign so far

RCN members across the UK are protesting to scrap the cap


2.25% increase for staff earning over £21,000 across all four UK countries.


Pay freeze introduced for staff earning over £21,000.


Pay freeze continues.


RCN Frontline First report highlights 20,000 nurse vacancies in England and warns that the UK is heading for a nursing shortage.


One-off 1% increase for staff at the top of pay bands in England and Northern Ireland.

1% increase for staff earning over £21,000 in Scotland, but pay freeze for staff earning over £21,000 in Wales.

February 2015

RCN Frontline First report highlights that the NHS is projected to spend at least £980 million on agency nursing staff by the end of the year.

July 2015

Chancellor George Osbourne announces formal 1% pay cap until 2019.

September 2015

RCN evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body shows that Band 5 average earnings have fallen in real terms by 10.3% between 2010 and 2015.

November 2015

RCN launches Nursing Counts campaign in response to another year of pay restraint.

November 2015

Members in Northern Ireland seek a ballot in response to ‘real hardship faced by hardworking nursing staff.’

July 2016

New research from The Institute of Employment Studies reveals one in three nurses due to retire in the next 10 years.

September 2016

RCN evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body shows that average earnings for qualified nurses have fallen in real terms by 13.6% between 2010 and 2016.

Average earnings for health care assistants and assistant health practitioners fell by 9.3% in real terms over the same period.

October 2016

Cavell Nurses' Trust report finds nursing staff are twice as likely to be unable to afford basic necessities.

October 2016

11,000 RCN members write to the Chancellor ahead of the Autumn Statement, urging him to scrap the cap.

January 2017

A petition by RCN member Danielle Tiplady, which calls on the Government to scrap the cap, reaches 100,000 signatures.

January 2017

MPs debate the cap on nursing pay. There is cross-party consensus for the Government to scrap the cap. On the same day, over 40 RCN members lobby MPs in Parliament.

March 2017

Record numbers of nursing staff apply for RCN Foundation hardship grants.

March 2017

Chancellor Phillip Hammond announces the continuation of the 1% pay cap across all four UK countries.

April 2017

RCN launch a poll of members working in the NHS to gauge appetite for action on pay.

May 2017

Pay poll results announced at RCN Congress. 91% of respondents agree to take action in response to the pay cap. Summer of protest announced.

May 2017

RCN report finds more than 40,000 nurse vacancies in England.

June 2017

Summer of Protest begins with 30 events across the United Kingdom.

June 2017

Health sector unions write to the Prime Minister, asking her to show a ‘change of direction’ in the Queen’s Speech.