Pay deal ‘may help make up lost ground’ on recruitment and retention

RCN urges pay review body to back ‘robust’ approach to workforce data

 RCN urges pay review body to back ‘robust’ approach to workforce data

Picture: Alamy

The NHS pay deals negotiated last year will not make up for years of lost earnings due to financial restraint, but should help to attract and retain nurses and support safe staffing, the RCN says.

The college makes the point in its annual submission to the NHS Pay Review Body (RB), which is taking evidence on the implementation and impact of the multi-year deal in England.

Although the RB’s remit only covers England, the RCN also calls for monitoring and evaluation of the deals negotiated for Scotland and Wales in 2018, as well as a fair deal for nurses in Northern Ireland.

‘A foundation for attracting recruits’

‘While the three pay agreements will not make up for the total loss in earnings experienced by nursing staff as a result of pay restraint in the NHS, the RCN is hopeful that they will start to make up for lost ground and provide a foundation for attracting new recruits, retaining existing staff and ensuring safe staffing levels,’ the RCN's submission says.

It also calls for the RB to support a ‘clear and robust’ approach to workforce data gathering, to ensure confidence in the implementation of the pay deals.

The RCN says nursing vacancy rates stand at 12% in England and 4.5% in Scotland. No data are available for Northern Ireland and Wales. 

Progress on Northern Ireland pay

In its submission, the college also reiterates its calls for rapid progress towards a meaningful pay uplift for nurses in Northern Ireland, where a lack of government has prevented attempts to address the issue.

Its evidence also highlights the college’s ongoing concerns, including:

The RB will present its report to the Department of Health and Social Care in May.

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