NHS pay: nurses accept deal but ‘low morale still very real’
Union tells SNP government the ‘narrowly agreed’ pay deal in Scotland will not be enough to shore-up crisis-hit nurse workforce, as minister agree to Agenda for Change review
Nurses in Scotland’s NHS voted to accept the government’s pay offer by a narrow majority, the RCN announced.
Some 53% of members in an RCN ballot voted to accept a pay rise of 6.5% for 2023-24, which will make them the highest paid nurses in the whole health service.
The offer includes a one-off payment for most staff on Agenda for Change contracts of between £387 and £939, depending on band. In addition, ministers agreed to a review of NHS’s Agenda for Change pay framework.
Agenda for Change should recognise nurses’ clinical expertise, says union
Scotland has been the only part of the UK to avoid NHS nurse strike action in this pay round, after ministers revised their pay offer for 2022-23 and accelerated their offer for 2023-24.
But the RCN said Scottish National Party ministers should be under no illusion the deal would be enough to make nursing staff feel valued or address workforce needs.
- RELATED: Nurses urged to vote for pay deal
RCN Scotland director Colin Poolman said: ‘They must live up to their promises. The Agenda for Change framework must be modernised to recognise the clinical skills and expertise of nursing staff, and further improvements to pay, terms and conditions are needed in the years ahead.’
The college warned that while the vote to accept the offer ends the immediate strikes threat, the 47% of members who voted against the deal have ‘continued frustration and concern’ about the health service workforce crisis.
RCN Scotland board chair Julie Lamberth added: ‘While members voted by a narrow margin to accept the offer, the chronic staff shortages and low morale that led to the strike mandate are still very real.’
Nursing and midwifery taskforce will look at recruitment and retention
Last month Scotland’s health and social care secretary, Humza Yousaf, who is campaigning to replace Nicola Sturgeon as first minister, and chief nursing officer Alex McMahon promised to set up a nursing and midwifery taskforce. This will include RCN representatives, will recommend actions recruitment and retention.
Health unions’ NHS members in England are due to vote on the 5% pay increase they have been offered.
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