During these months we have met with thousands of nurses, healthcare assistants and members of the public across the Eastern region who support our call for the Government to scrap the 1% cap on pay rises for nursing staff.
This support has been very important to the Eastern region as it shows the strength of feeling that is out there, not just among you, our members, but in the wider population, patients and their families who value the vital roles you all do and understand that you need a wage that reflects this and keeps pace with today’s ever rising cost of living.
We have been very clear that patient safety is central in the argument for why nursing staff need a proper pay rise which brings you more into line with soaring inflation which has left many of you struggling to cope. Nursing staff tell us they feel devalued, taken for granted, overworked and underpaid.
The 1% Government pay cap has had a terrible impact, with many leaving the profession or considering doing so in the near future. We have evidence to show fewer students are applying for nursing courses due to the bursary being scrapped and there has been a dramatic fall in the number of our EU colleagues coming to work in the UK due to the uncertainty of leaving the EU. We know from speaking to our members that staffing levels are at crisis point and we know there are currently 1 in 9 posts vacant (some 40,000 posts across the UK).
Ultimately patients are the ones who will suffer. This situation will only get worse if more nurses and healthcare assistants leave the profession because they can no longer afford to nurse. Things must change and change soon.
Most of you will have signed our postcards to MPs. We have collected thousands from across the region and have been overwhelmed by the support shown to you by your colleagues from chefs, porters, doctors, housekeepers, paramedics, physios, patients, visitors and the public. These postcards will be delivered to all MPs in bulk shortly.
On 6 September we are holding a rally in Parliament Square, central London, from 12.30 till 2.30pm, and we need you to join us. We need you, our Eastern region Royal College of Nursing members, to show the Government your strength of feeling about your pay. We can’t do this without you.
We are asking all our members to stand up and be counted, make your voices heard loud and clear - scrap the unfair cap on pay so you can continue to care for patients in their times of need.
Details of how to apply for funded travel to this event can be found here.
We look forward to seeing you there.
RCN Eastern Pay Campaign Manager