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Nurses and midwives call for pay rise

Nurses and midwives are calling on the government to end its policy of pay restraint, as their royal colleges today gave evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body, which will make a recommendation on pay.
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Nurses and midwives are calling on the government to end its policy of pay restraint, as the royal colleges handed over evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body today to make a recommendation on pay.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said the nursing workforce faced multiple challenges, including staff shortages, increased workloads and low morale, and called for an above inflation pay rise.

RCN chief executive Janet Davies said: 'The ongoing erosion of nurses real-terms pay is unsustainable and puts patient care at risk.

Midwife shortage

'This recommendation is not just about treating staff fairly for the work they are doing. It is about getting a grip on workforce planning in the NHS, and helping trusts to recruit and

Nurses and midwives are calling on the government to end its policy of pay restraint, as the royal colleges handed over evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body today to make a recommendation on pay.

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RCN chief executive Janet Davies has said the erosion of real-terms
pay puts patient care at risk. Picture: John Houlihan

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said the nursing workforce faced multiple challenges, including staff shortages, increased workloads and low morale, and called for an above inflation pay rise.

RCN chief executive Janet Davies said: 'The ongoing erosion of nurses’ real-terms pay is unsustainable and puts patient care at risk.

Midwife shortage

'This recommendation is not just about treating staff fairly for the work they are doing. It is about getting a grip on workforce planning in the NHS, and helping trusts to recruit and retain the staff they need to provide safe patient care.'

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has submitted evidence highlighting a shortage of nearly 3,500 midwives in the UK, and maternity units struggling to meet the demands of the service.

Unprecedented challenges, such as understaffing, have resulted in low levels of staff engagement in maternity units.

RCM director of policy, employment relations and communications Jon Skewes said: 'We are asking for the NHS Pay Review Body to break the pay cap imposed by government, and recommend a fair increase for NHS staff. 

Struggling to meet demand

'Six years of pay stagnation in the NHS have contributed to the increasing shortages of staff including shortage of nearly 3,500 midwives.

'The NHS is struggling to meet the demands of the service and this is despite NHS staff working harder than ever before. Organisations are reliant on the goodwill of staff, and this is leading to high levels of stress and burn out.

'Now is the time for the government to end their policy of pay restraint and show that they value NHS staff. Investment in staff is an investment in high quality care.'

Unite national officer for health Sarah Carpenter said: 'Since 2010, NHS staff have seen their incomes in real terms eroded by more than 15%, which has provoked a recruitment and retention crisis across the NHS.'

The RCN said it wants to see a comprehensive workforce strategy.

Both organisations are calling for:
  • A return to a UK-wide pay scale, using Scotland as a reference point.
  • A restructuring of bands 1-3 to pay the living wage.
  • A pay award in line with RPI (1.9% as of July 2016).

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