The RCN and other health trade unions recently successfully negotiated a re-evaluation of the Agenda for Change pay band for health visitors. The new health visitor job description has been evaluated at band 7, a jump up from band 6.
This is undoubtedly a fully merited step up in pay, but the news has prompted legitimate enquiries from other sections of the nursing workforce.
What if I am a team leader, managing staff who are now on the same band as me? I’ve been more than 20 years in the job and now new health visitors will be earning the same as me – how is that fair? And what about district nurses whose role is increasingly complex and demanding?
All fair concerns of which the RCN is mindful, but we should not let these concerns cloud the fact that this is important recognition for all health visitors, secured by the RCN and the other health trade unions.
The provisions of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act have fundamentally changed the health visitor role. The fact that the change is the same whether you are practising in Glasgow City or the Western Isles meant that we had a compelling case to enable us to negotiate the change for all health visitors in Scotland in one go.
Not having such an obvious universal change does not mean we have no means to try to address other members’ concerns. Any member of staff on an Agenda for Change contract is entitled to ask for a job evaluation to be carried out. So, a team leader role could be reviewed taking into account clinical and managerial responsibilities.
Similarly, any district nurse and specialist nurses who believe their role is more complex and, therefore, their existing job description no longer covers the scope of the role, can ask for a job evaluation.
In each case, members should get in touch with their local RCN rep or officer team to discuss their situation. The RCN would support members through any subsequent job evaluation process.
Under Agenda for Change it is the job being done, not the person doing it, that is being banded. That means that anyone new into the role can feel assured that they are being paid the going rate for the job. The principle behind the increment system is that experience in the job is rewarded over time up to a certain level. Without these principles it would be difficult to attract new people into a role.
Any RCN member who has a question or concern about their pay, terms and conditions of employment should contact RCN Direct on 0345 772 6100 for an initial discussion about how the RCN can support them make a change.