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Nursing staff stretched to breaking point over pay

15 Nov 2017

An RCN survey today lays bare the extent of financial pressure on the nursing workforce, as the College calls for a “clear signal” on pay in next week’s Budget.

Nurse with head in her hands

Nursing staff are suffering such financial hardship that nearly three out of four say they feel worse off than they did five years ago, while almost a quarter have had to take on another job simply to make ends meet.

These are some of the findings from the RCN’s biennial employment survey, published today.

The results come ahead of next week’s Budget, when the Chancellor is being urged to address the issue of public sector pay.

Of the members who responded to the survey, 70% reported feeling financially worse off than they were five years ago, while 24% say they are thinking of leaving their job because of money worries.

The percentage of respondents who say they are looking for a new job has also increased from 24% ten years ago to 37% today.

And 61% say their job band or grade is inappropriate for the work they do, a significant increase on the last survey in 2015, when only 39% said this was the case.

As a result of these severe financial and workload pressures, nursing staff are now less likely than at any point in the previous 10 years to say they would recommend nursing as a career to others – only 41% said they would do so this year, compared with 51% in 2007.

Commenting on the survey result, RCN Chief Executive Janet Davies said: “The shocking findings we’re highlighting today demonstrate just how severe the financial pressure on nursing staff has now become.

“It is ludicrous that the health service is losing valuable highly-trained staff simply because they can’t pay the bills at the end of the month.

“The Safe Staffing report we published in September laid bare the terrible impact nursing shortages are having on patients; today’s survey findings, in contrast, show how badly nurses themselves are suffering from the continued underfunding of the health service. 

“The Chancellor must therefore give a clear signal in the Budget next week that the Government will award an above-inflation pay rise to hard-pressed nursing staff in the NHS.”

Page last updated - 15/06/2018