NHS nurse pay: why a better deal is still worth fighting for

In a podcast first, Pat Cullen talks to Nursing Standard about why nurses deserve more than the government in England has been prepared to give them – yet

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen with logo of Nursing Standard podcast in the background

Nurses working in the NHS have been in dispute with the government over poor pay, conditions and patient safety for months.

In this special edition of Nursing Standard podcast, RCN general secretary Pat Cullen talks about the ‘unfinished business’ nurses have with the government in England and why they deserve more than the latest pay award gives them.

She calls on ministers to come back to the negotiating table to avoid further strikes, detailing what they can do to nurture home-grown nurses instead of relying heavily on international recruitment.

The message from nurses on the picket lines

This podcast episode comes as the RCN’s ballot for a further six months of industrial action nears its deadline and Ms Cullen urges college members to have their say before the ballot ends on 23 June.

Alongside the discussion about pay and industrial action, Ms Cullen speaks about what motivates her personally to continue the fight for better pay. She shares stories from her visits to picket lines and explains how she dealt with the social media fallout after the RCN recommended its members accept the 5% pay offer put forward by the government for 2023/24.

The podcast is also available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

NHS pay offers around the UK

Nurses in Wales remain in dispute with their government over pay, with RCN members expected to walk out again on 12 and 13 July. The college will ballot Welsh members on a further six-month industrial action mandate between 3 and 31 July.

In Northern Ireland, nurses’ pay remains unclear after recent pay talks between the province’s Department of Health and the RCN failed to reach agreement.

NHS nurses in Scotland reached a deal with the Edinburgh government earlier this year.


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