The key demands of the campaign include an end to years of pay restraint – the 1% rise announced in March does little to alter the fact that nursing pay is now at least 14 per cent lower than the cost of living compared to 2010. You can calculate how much you would be earning now if pay had kept up with inflation.
The RCN also wants to protect unsocial hours payments from potential attack and maintain the staffing levels that are essential for patient safety.
Your local RCN officers and representatives in the Eastern region have been busy taking campaign materials around workplaces, highlighting the issues among other members. If you want to help spread the message you can get your own campaign materials online. RCN staff have also been holding discussions with senior health service leaders across the region to highlight the campaign and the impact on their own workforces.
The campaign is expanding outside of the workplace and into the media. Our team has written to all local newspapers to highlight the profession’s anger and concern about nursing pay. The letter was signed by almost 40 RCN board members, branch executives and representatives and has appeared in media across the region, including the East Anglian Daily Times, The Gazette (Colchester) and Ipswich Star.
Nurses cannot afford for pay constraint to continue, and neither can the health service. We cannot have a situation where future nurses are put off a career in nursing due to a lack of recognition reflected in their pay.
The RCN will continue to fight for nurses and healthcare assistants to receive fair pay. A pay award that doesn’t reflect the value of nursing is bad for patients too.
RCN Eastern Region Director Karen Webb said: “The letter we sent to the local media helps demonstrate the strength of feeling among nurses in our region about the attacks on our profession and their frustration that their contribution to the NHS and dedication to their patients in not reflected in fair pay.
“These nurses are among a nursing workforce providing 24-hour care in our hospitals and communities, in intensive care and A&E, in mental health and paediatrics.
“We hope the public will support our efforts to have their work recognised through fair pay and conditions. Nursing staff will always put their patients first. The Government must now show that it values nurses as much as patients do.”
More information about the campaign is available on the Nursing Counts website.