Today the government announced a one-year Spending Review expected at the end of November to prioritise the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary Dame Donna Kinnair has said this is an opportunity for the government to show nursing staff they are valued and address the workforce crisis across the UK.
Dame Donna said: “The Chancellor has started the ball rolling today and confirmed the government’s intention to address long-term funding challenges for the NHS next month.
“These services are battling a pandemic with a shortage of 50,000 nurses across the UK. Nursing staff feel undervalued and driven out by poor pay levels.
“Next month, the government can reset the dial and show it values them. The Chancellor can send the strongest signal that investment for the NHS means an early and significant pay rise for its workforce.”
Earlier this month, the RCN published its formal submission to the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review which sets out the moral, political and economic case for a 12.5% pay rise for NHS nursing staff.
Dame Donna added: “A 12.5% pay rise will help address the staffing crisis in the profession that affects standards of patient care. This must be fully funded – cash-strapped health services cannot offer a pay rise from within existing budgets."
The RCN’s submission outlines what effective nurse staffing levels do for patient outcomes and says we must have, in law, accountability for provision of the nursing workforce in all countries of the UK with a plan based on true population need.
It also calls for students across the UK to be financially supported to study nursing – abolishing university tuition fees in England and commissioning additional places.