Nurses’ pay: your government is out of step with public mood on NHS, RCN tells Johnson

College leaders call on ministers to be honest about nursing salaries

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The government must have an honest discussion about nursing pay after the COVID-19 pandemic, the RCN has urged Boris Johnson.

College leaders have written to the prime minister amid anger over comments made by health and social care secretary Matt Hancock that nursing staff have received a 'significant pay rise' in recent years.

Nurses’ ‘biggest pay rise’

Mr Hancock told journalists he agreed nursing was a highly skilled profession and deserved decent pay, but stopped short of promising future pay awards.

‘We put up nurses’ pay last month and last year we had the biggest rise in pay, especially for nurses starting their career', the secretary of state said.

His comments followed a report in the Daily Telegraph that a two-year public sector pay freeze was being considered in a bid to curb public spending after the costly interventions to deal with the pandemic.

RCN calls for honest dialogue on the value of NHS nursing staff

In their letter, RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair and RCN chair of council Dee Sissons called for an 'honest dialogue' on valuing the nursing workforce ahead of the next formal pay round, which will determine pay levels for NHS nursing staff in England after April 2021.

They cite RCN research that states average NHS pay has not kept pace with the cost of living since 2010.

'You have recently seen first-hand the professionalism and dedication of this nation’s nursing staff,' the letter begins.

It continues: 'The majority of nursing staff will not recognise the 15% figure quoted by the secretary of state for health and care.

'Discussing pay out of the context of costs of living, combined with a suggestion elsewhere last week of a pay freeze, are totally out of step with nursing need and public support.'

Nurses on Agenda for Change contracts in England recently received their third and final annual pay rise from the three-year deal agreed in 2018.

Pay increased by 1.7% for 2020-21 backdated to 1 April.

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