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RCN general secretary Janet Davies slams government for nursing pay insult

Government suggestions that any pay rise for nurses must be linked to improved productivity are insulting, says RCN general secretary Janet Davies.

Government suggestions that any pay rise for nurses must be linked to improved productivity are insulting, says RCN general secretary Janet Davies.

  • RCN general secretary made comments in Nursing Standard podcast
  • Budget announched pay rise would be funded should pay structure modernisation talks 'bear fruit'
  • RCN and health unions calling for pay rise of 3.9%

Janet Davies. Photo: Barney Newman

Speaking exclusively to the Nursing Standard podcast Ms Davies said: ‘It’s incredibly insulting when we know people are working 12-hour shifts and staying even longer, unpaid, to finish off the work they feel they need to do to keep patients safe and give good care.

‘That goodwill will run out if the government are being seen to try to get more out of nurses than they already do.

‘Looking at the number of nurses, the productivity of NHS nurses is incredible. I don’t want to hear those words spoken.’

Pay structure modernisation

Ms Davies spoke to the podcast following last week's budget, in which chancellor Philip Hammond announced a pay rise would be funded, should pay structure modernisation talks 'bear fruit'.

She said: ‘The health secretary has already begun discussions with health unions on pay structure modernisation for Agenda for Change (AfC) staff to improve recruitment and retention.’

The accompanying government document added: 'Any pay deal will be on the condition that the pay award enables improved productivity in the NHS, and is justified on recruitment and retention grounds.'

No offers from the government on the table

Ms Davies said talks had not yet started and there were no offers from the government on the table.

The RCN and other health unions have called for an above inflation pay rise of 3.9% for NHS staff to go some way towards offsetting the estimated 14% real-terms wages reduction since pay restraint began in 2010.

Health unions this week feared the government would change or stop unsociable hours pay, warning of a clash similar to that with junior doctors last year that resulted in strikes.

Premium pay for unsociable hours will remain

Ms Davies told the Nursing Standard podcast cuts would be counter productive, with costly agency staff needed to fill shifts permanent staff refused to work.

But Jeremy Hunt has since told the Health Service Journal that premium pay for unsociable hours will remain.

He added: ‘Funnily enough, the model that we ended up agreeing with the British Medical Association for the junior doctors’ contract is quite a sensible one, which is essentially higher pay for the more weekends you work.’


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