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Intensive care nurses at Oxford hospital to lose pay premium

Nurses at John Radcliffe Hospital reportedly disheartened but no one has complained to RCN and trust says it needs to act over inequities in critical care teams
Picture of John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford

Nurses at John Radcliffe Hospital reportedly disheartened but no one has complained to RCN and trust says it needs to act over inequities in critical care teams

Intensive care unit (ICU) nurses at an Oxford hospital are set to lose a pay premium awarded in 2016 as their trust says it needs to end inequities that were caused.

Nurses at the John Radcliffe Hospital, run by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust (OUH), received a short-term pay premium to address recruitment challenges in June 2016. But the trust said the payment has resulted in inequities across its critical care nursing teams and that following a six-month consultation it will be cut in March to equalise nurses’ pay.

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Nurses at John Radcliffe Hospital reportedly disheartened but no one has complained to RCN and trust says it needs to act over inequities in critical care teams

Picture of John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford
John Radcliffe Hospital Picture: Alamy

Intensive care unit (ICU) nurses at an Oxford hospital are set to lose a pay premium awarded in 2016 as their trust says it needs to end inequities that were caused.

Nurses at the John Radcliffe Hospital, run by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust (OUH), received a short-term pay premium to address recruitment challenges in June 2016. But the trust said the payment has resulted in inequities across its critical care nursing teams and that following a six-month consultation it will be cut in March to equalise nurses’ pay.

A trust spokesperson said: ‘We are very conscious of the need to treat all our staff fairly and reward them in line with principles of equity. We understand how some of our staff may feel about this payment ending, so we took some time to consider this decision and had a six-month notice period, and believe it to be in the best interests of staff and patients overall.

‘Moving forward, we continue to work with the team to focus on and develop a range of other valuable initiatives and incentives.’

RCN says recruitment and retention premiums can be paid at employer’s discretion

Nurses have said they are saddened and disheartened by the decision. One nurse told the Oxford Mail: ‘People do acknowledge that it was always going to go at some point, but it doesn’t quell the feeling of worry, disappointment and the anger over poor timing and feeling undervalued.’

She said many colleagues do not feel the trust considered the impact the decision would have on nurses.

The RCN South East branch said the trust had ‘done all they can’ to communicate with staff about the pay reduction and that it was not an issue that members had raised.

RCN senior regional officer Jane Febers said: ‘The timing of this announcement will be particularly difficult for staff to deal with, however staff in all departments at the trust should be reassured that they are receiving equal pay across the trust now, and while this will be a bitter blow for those who received the enhancement, it is a platform for the trust to build on.

‘Nursing pay is something that must be addressed at a national level to ensure that nurses are retained and nursing is seen as an attractive career option.’

She added that Agenda for Change contracts have always allowed for recruitment and retention premiums to be paid at the discretion of the employer during times of low recruitment.


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