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Summer of Action: The fight for fair pay starts now

Pat Cullen 30 Jul 2021 Chief Executive and General Secretary

Pat Cullen, General Secretary and Chief Executive, explains how members will lead the Fair Pay for Nursing campaign during the summer

The long-awaited government pay award for NHS staff in England was finally announced last week - a 3% pay award for 2021-22. This award was a bitter blow to many nursing staff - when the Treasury expects inflation to be 3.7%, ministers are knowingly cutting nursing pay. We have warned the government that this award will not be enough to prevent an exodus of exhausted NHS nursing staff which will impact significantly on patient care. 

The Welsh Government also announced that NHS staff in Wales will be given a 3% pay rise for 2021-22. A pay announcement in Northern Ireland is expected soon and the Scottish Government has already made a pay offer that members in Scotland continue to campaign on.

We are now putting together plans for asking every affected member if they find this acceptable and your elected members will make the final decisions on this consultation in the coming days. The planning for this must be rigorous - as you would expect from a safety critical profession – and we are using an external company, Civica, to scrutinise the results. These processes take time but this rigour will support the arguments members want to make and it ensures independence. The government has not been forthcoming with details on the funding and implementation of this award and we continue to push for information. 

Since the announcement last week, the UK government has admitted that the money for this pay award would be found from existing budgets. The government is failing to give the NHS the money it truly needs and it is an incredibly worrying decision as we know this funding will already be committed for patient care.

So this week, we’ve launched our Summer of Action – a series of events through July to September - hosted by and for our members to ensure our colleagues, our patients, the public and politicians know that our campaign won't stop until nursing is respected and protected through fair pay.  

We need all of you to get involved and tell us how you want this campaign to move forward. This Summer of Action is your opportunity to stand up for our profession and our patients by using your voice and demanding the respect our profession deserves. Join us at one or more of the planned events and bring your friends, family and colleagues along too – help us amplify the voice of nursing this summer.

We will be launching a consultation to ask you your views on the pay award and what steps you would like to take next in the coming weeks. Use our materials to talk to your colleagues in your workplace about the campaign and why it is so important they get involved and have their say. Make sure your details are up to date in MyRCN and encourage your colleagues to do the same so you don’t miss the chance to have your say on your pay - for yourself, your profession and the safety of your patients.


More information

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Pat Cullen

Pat Cullen

General Secretary and Chief Executive

Pat has worked at the RCN since 2016. Before being appointed General Secretary and Chief Executive, Pat was Director of RCN Northern Ireland from May 2019 to April 2021.

Page last updated - 28/12/2021