Some members working on the NHSP bank had been overpaid by an average of £558 with one member being overpaid by £2387. NHSP set out to reclaim the money – a decision that the RCN has been able to overturn.
Affecting an estimated 200 theatre nurses, theatre practitioners and children’s nurses as well as some allied health professionals, the massive overpayment error occurred when RCN members were advised of a higher rate of pay prior to undertaking some shifts in August and September 2018. Many of them queried the change in rate from both the OUH and directly from NHSP regarding the higher rates of pay but the OUH (via their Trust Liaison Coordinator for NHSP) and NHSP confirmed the higher rate of pay was accurate. The nurses therefore accepted the higher rate in good faith as an explicitly agreed term of engagement for the shifts they worked.
When NHSP later tried to claw back these payments, the RCN stepped in to support members. RCN Officer James Steen says: “Although NHSP accepted responsibility for the error, they still wanted our members to pay back the money they had received in good faith. For members that had been overpaid by less than £300, NHSP started to illegally claw back £25 a week from their NHSP wages.
“Members were naturally confused and angry. We were delighted when OUH stepped in to say they would investigate the matter and to tell NHSP to cease the deductions. The fact that NHSP have now fully backed down means that our members can continue to work on the bank with the confidence that what they earn is what they’ll keep.”