London Assembly members discussed a motion put forward by Dr Onkar Sahota, chair of the Assembly Health Committee, calling for Mayor Boris Johnson to adopt a key worker strategy and set out plans to better support nurses, paramedics and other key staff with the rising cost of living.
The Assembly also paid tribute to the RCN’s ongoing campaign to secure fair NHS pay. With NHS staff having faced pay freezes for much of the past five years a recent RCN report found that NHS employers in the capital are finding it more difficult to recruit sufficient staff to keep patients safe.
Regional Director of RCN London, Bernell Bussue said: “The Government has imposed a pay freeze on NHS staff for most of the past five years while the cost of living here in London has continued to spiral upwards. The result is that London employers are finding it harder to attract the number of nursing staff they think they need. Nursing vacancies in London are now twice the rate of those in the rest of the country.
“It is fantastic that the London Assembly is speaking up for the region’s health workers. We need urgent action to address London’s nursing shortage and make sure the nation’s capital remains an attractive and affordable destination for nurses to live and work.”
A fair deal for nurses
Dr Onkar Sahota, London Assembly member for Ealing and Hillingdon and Chair of the London Assembly Health Committee, said: “I support the ongoing campaign by the RCN to secure a fair deal for the nurses. The Government should be ashamed that they dismissed the impartial recommendation of the Independent Pay Review Body by refusing to give the nurses the 1% pay rise they deserve.
“In December the Royal College of Nursing Report found that 14% of London NHS nursing posts are vacant. One major cause is the high living costs in the capital. The Mayor needs to establish a key worker housing strategy and set out plans to better support nurses, paramedics and other key workers with the cost of living, so that they can afford to live in London and continue to serve Londoners.”