It is now the 6th year in a row that a cut in pay has been forced upon NHS staff by a Government determined to devalue a profession held dear by millions all over the country.
Since 2011, nurses have lost 14% of their pay in real terms, forcing them out of London and from the profession altogether. Now in 2017, Government enforced pay restraint sees nurses turning to foodbanks and hardship funds to feed their families and make ends meet because wages have not kept up with the cost of living – the decision by NHS Improvement to ban NHS staff from working agency shifts only makes this precarious situation far worse.
Giving nursing staff a decent pay rise is not only fair, but also essential if we are to address a recruitment and retention crisis that has left the NHS with tens of thousands of nursing posts it is unable to fill. Today, staff are leaving work feeling that they have not been able to deliver the quality of care they want for their patients as there are simply not enough of them. On top of this, the refusal to guarantee the rights of our European colleagues means they turning away from the UK in record numbers.
The Government has sought to make nursing staff feel they are lucky to receive a 1% pay increase. The reality is that this Government, yet again, has failed to show it cares for those that care for others.