This week, our consultation on the recent 3% pay award for nursing staff working for the NHS in England and Wales opened.
The nursing workforce crisis has been exacerbated during this pandemic and we are now seeing more and more nursing staff resigning their posts. Whilst there needed to be a huge programme of rest and recovery for staff, this hasn’t happened. Nurses and the nursing support workforce have been forced to start addressing the backlog of delayed care. If governments and employers are serious about retaining our current nursing workforce and recruiting new nurses so that patients get the highest level of safe and effective care, then they must seriously address the issue of pay.
We know that the fallout from this unsatisfactory pay award for NHS staff will result in more nursing staff leaving. That’s why nursing staff are not willing to stand back whilst patients cannot get the care and treatment they truly deserve – the care that nurses and nursing support workers wish to provide. RCN members have always spoken up on behalf of their patients and I know you will continue to do so. Please engage in this consultation. The next steps we take, with employers and governments, will be based on your responses.
In Scotland, our members continue to be in a trade dispute with the Scottish government and NHS Scotland employers after they rejected an offer which gave them an average 4% pay increase.
And we’re still waiting for a formal announcement of a pay award in Northern Ireland. Once a formal pay award is made, we will consult members in Northern Ireland as soon as possible.
Our Summer of Action continues this week. Members across the country have been hosting local events to highlight the impact of staffing shortages and the clear link that low pay has on recruitment and retention. Members have organised workplace demonstrations, campaigns stands, online campaign events, and more.
I am so proud of our members taking the Fair Pay for Nursing campaign into their workplaces and local communities – taking collective action to secure the changes needed for our profession. And it isn’t too late to get involved - find out more and invite your friends and colleagues to join us too.
For those of you working in the wider health and social care sector, please rest assured that the RCN is committed to securing fair pay for all our members. Our Trade Union Committee is setting the direction of our independent sector pay strategy and we will continue to make the case to employers and policy makers that the nursing workforce, regardless of where you work, must be protected and valued through fair pay.