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'Vote to strike' urges RCN as number of nurses leaving NHS hits record high

30 Sep 2022

Nurses are quitting for better pay in retail and hospitality as cost-of-living crisis takes its toll.

RCN members at pay rally with placard 'Time to pay nursing staff fairly'

Nursing staff are skipping meals to feed their children and travel to work according to new survey results from NHS Providers.

Responses from leaders of NHS trusts in England show two in three trusts reported a “significant or severe” impact from staff leaving to work in sectors such as pubs, restaurants and shops for better pay. Soaring prices and bills have dented morale and are making it harder for them to recruit and retain nursing staff.

The RCN will be launching its biggest ever strike ballot next Thursday 6 October in response to years of real-terms pay cuts, a workforce crisis and concerns over patient safety.

RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen said: “When half of the NHS needs to open food banks for its own staff, ministers’ heads should be hanging in shame.

“Tens of thousands of nurses are driven out by this treatment and patients pay the price.”

The survey findings come as new analysis reveals more than 40,000 nurses working for the NHS in England left the profession in the past year. According to research by think tank the Nuffield Trust, that equates to one in nine of the workforce.

“Liz Truss must ask herself why record numbers are quitting a career they’ve loved,” said Pat. “And, more importantly, tell us what her government will do about it.

“Next week, nurses left working in the NHS will be voting on strike action and telling the prime minister that she must grip this situation - pay nursing fairly and give health and care services the investment the public expects,” she added.

Eligible members will have their ballot papers posted to them by Civica Election Services on Thursday 6 October. It’s important members complete and return them straight away so they’re received before the deadline of 12 noon on Wednesday 2 November.

You’re eligible to vote if you work for an NHS employer on an Agenda for Change contract in England, Scotland or Wales, or if you work for the HSC in Northern Ireland.

It’s vital you check we have your up-to-date home address, employer details and job title so every eligible member receives their postal ballot.

Page last updated - 28/02/2023