Health secretary to meet RCN over pay

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is to meet with the RCN to talk about nurses' pay, health leaders heard.
Jeremy Hunt

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is to meet with the RCN to talk about nurses’ pay, health leaders heard.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who will meet RCN general secretary Janet Davies to discuss
pay, says he has a ‘great deal of sympathy for the case of nurses’. Picture: Terence Philips

The newly reappointed minister also told the NHS Confederation conference that he status of EU nationals working in the NHS will be top of the Government's 'list' as Brexit negotiations start.

He was asked about a pay rise for health workers, including nurses, by NHS Confederation chief executive Niall Dickson.

‘Brilliant job’

Mr Hunt told the conference in Liverpool: ‘I have a great deal of sympathy for the case that nurses, amongst others, have made on the issue of pay.

‘I think they do an absolutely brilliant job. They work very, very hard and we need to factor in that there is an enormous amount of goodwill and an enormous amount of time given free of charge because people care about their jobs and they see it not as a job, but as a vocation.

‘We have our budget, that we have to live within, but public sector pay is a matter for the chancellor.'

Mr Hunt said he was due to meet with RCN general secretary Janet Davies to discuss the matter. 

The RCN said a date had not yet been set for a meeting with the secretary of state.

‘Top of our list’

He said: ‘I will make sure our conversation is reflected back to the chancellor before we make that decision.’

Responding to the comments, Ms Davies said: 'Pay packets have been cut by £3,000 and England’s NHS is now more than 40,000 nurses short. The government must begin to recognise the impact on patients and nurses themselves.

'Nurses should not have to fund the NHS deficit from their own pocket. This summer, the Government has one last chance to scrap its pay cap.'

Mr Hunt also told the conference, Confed17, that about 150,000 EU nationals were working in the health and social care services.

He said: ‘We need them, we want them to stay. They are part of the NHS family.

‘It's an early priority for this government to secure rights, which we would like to be broadly the same as the rights that they have now, and I want to reassure them now that this will be absolutely top of our list as the Brexit negotiations start later this month.’

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