The disillusionment stems from a series of missed opportunities by the States. In 2017, the RCN welcomed a move by the States of Guernsey to “undertake a strategic review of the terms and conditions attached to nursing and midwifery professionals employed by the States of Guernsey.” In December 2018 an independent review was delivered to the States by Dean Royles, Director of the Inspiring Leadership Network which made several key recommendations. After several lengthy delays, the long awaited implementation plan has finally been released to the unions.
Julie Lewers, RCN Senior Regional Officer says: “After several months we were hopeful of a solid implementation plan that would enable us to work in partnership with the States to get the best outcome for nurses. Instead, we get a rushed overview seemingly only released after we threatened to go public, with an equally insubstantial, albeit longer, plan following a week later.
“The plans are vague with no solid timeframe around delivery and outcomes. Understandably our members are extremely angry around the latest developments. They see it as a slap in the face as well as the final straw in their trust and confidence that their employer is really committed to sorting out nursing pay, terms and conditions.
“Members are fed up of vague promises from the States. At a recent branch meeting, members told us how a shortage of staff and an increase in workload has led to nurses feeling burnt out and not valued. Our members are regularly working above and beyond their contracted hours to ensure that patients get the best possible care which is admirable, but not sustainable.”
The RCN is asking the States to address three key issues:
- Nursing pay. Nurses want a meaningful pay rise that not only keeps up with, but significantly exceeds RPI (cost of living) and will finally bring them in line with colleagues doing similar work across the States as well as across the health sector, giving pay parity for everyone.
- Pay, terms and conditions framework. There needs to be a solid framework in place to ensure fairness across the board and to future proof the nursing profession so that nursing on Guernsey is seen as an attractive and viable workplace.
- Patient care. There needs to be a robust system in place to ensure safe staffing that will enable safe delivery of care without relying on top-up agency nurses and stretching the goodwill of staff to breaking point.