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'Missed opportunity' as chancellor makes no mention of NHS pay cap

The RCN has accused the government of missing an opportunity to tackle the nursing workforce crisis after chancellor Philip Hammond failed to scrap the 1% public sector pay cap in his autumn statement.
Philip Hammond

The RCN has accused the government of missing an opportunity to tackle the nursing workforce crisis after chancellor Philip Hammond failed to scrap the 1% public sector pay cap in his autumn statement

The college was one of 15 unions who wrote to Mr Hammond on the eve of the autumn statement urging him to remove the current 1% cap on public sector pay increases.

However, the chancellor failed to mention the pay issue or the NHS, social care or public health in his statement to the House of Commons today.

The RCN has warned that unless nurses pay reflects the increase in cost of living, employers will struggle to attract enough staff to provide safe care.

Years of pay restraint

RCN

The RCN has accused the government of missing an opportunity to tackle the nursing workforce crisis after chancellor Philip Hammond failed to scrap the 1% public sector pay cap in his autumn statement

Philip Hammond
Chancellor Philip Hammond's autumn statement did not cover health and social care issues.
Picture: Getty

The college was one of 15 unions who wrote to Mr Hammond on the eve of the autumn statement urging him to remove the current 1% cap on public sector pay increases.

However, the chancellor failed to mention the pay issue – or the NHS, social care or public health – in his statement to the House of Commons today.

The RCN has warned that unless nurses’ pay reflects the increase in cost of living, employers will struggle to attract enough staff to provide safe care.

Years of pay restraint

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said: 'The current crisis in the nursing workforce has been building through years of pay restraint.

'Today the chancellor missed an opportunity to alleviate it.'

The government told the NHS Pay Review Body in July it would fund public sector pay awards at an average of 1% a year up to 2019-20.

Ms Davies said that nursing staff had endured reductions in their standard of living, with a 14% real-terms cut in take home pay since 2010, depsite mounting pressures and an urgent need for more staff.

Perfect storm

She added: 'By scrapping funding for nursing student training at a time when many nurses are due to retire and there are huge uncertainties around Brexit, there is a real risk of creating a perfect storm which the profession cannot weather.

''The message many nurses will take away from this is that fair pay, and recruiting and retaining enough NHS staff is not a priority for their government.'

Meanwhile, nurses took to Twitter to express their dismay that the pay issue had not been addressed in the autumn statement.

Undervalued

Community nurse Danielle Tiplady, whose petition urging the government to scrap the pay cap has reached almost 65,000 signatures, tweeted: 'Another day of feeling undervalued by the government.'

Elspeth Caithness tweeted: 'No surprise there, @PHammondMP have you not listened? Well maybe we nurses need to crank up the volume.'

Unison head of health Christina McAnea said: ‘The longer ministers stick with such harsh pay policies, the harder it is for hospital trusts to hold on to experienced staff.

‘It is only the hard work and dedication of health employees that is stopping the NHS from going under. It's time the government recognized this and gave them a decent pay rise.’

Department of Health response

Responding to the 15 unions' letter, a Department of Health spokesperson said: 'The dedication and sheer hard work of our NHS staff is absolutely crucial to delivering world-class care for patients.

'The government has had to take difficult decisions over the public finances, but we will continue to fund public sector pay awards, including for NHS staff, at an average of 1% next year.'


Further information


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