RCN head is lead signatory on scrap the cap letter to PM

The general secretary of the RCN is among the signatories on a letter urging the prime minister to remove the cap on pay
Janet Davies

The RCN is the lead signatory on a letter urging the prime minister to remove the cap on NHS pay. 

RCN general secretary Janet Davies’ name appears alongside 14 other health organisations and unions, including the Royal College of Midwives and Unison.

Together they urge Theresa May to show a ‘change of direction’ in the Queen’s Speech and scrap the 1% cap on wage rises for nurses and other NHS staff, which has been in place since 2010.

They say the cap is acting as a barrier to attracting enough staff to the health service to provide safe patient care.

What the letter says

The Queen’s Speech, which marks the opening of parliament and the government’s plans for the year ahead, is due to take place on Wednesday (21 June).

The letter says: 'The public sector pay cap has forced professionals out of jobs they love. Those who stay are overstretched and under pressure to do ever more with less.

'The long-standing cap stands in the way of recruiting and retaining the best in healthcare. It is having a profound and detrimental effect on standards of care for people at a time when the NHS is short of staff across every discipline.'

Cross-party support for scrapping the cap has been building since before the recent general election in which the Conservatives lost their majority in the House of Commons.

Industrial action threat

The RCN estimates a real-term fall in earnings since the cap was introduced means nursing staff are at least £3,000 worse off.

Removing it would avert the threat of industrial action by the RCN, which will launch a formal ‘scrap the cap’ campaign later this month ahead of its planned summer of protests.

The letter to the prime minister continues: 'We call on you to prioritise patient safety by guaranteeing safe staffing across all of our services and changing your policy on NHS pay.

'Your government should remove the pay cap and address the real-terms loss of earnings so the NHS can retain and attract staff, resolve the workforce shortage and ensure safe patient care.'

Pay meeting

Meanwhile health secretary Jeremy Hunt told last week's NHS Confederation’s Confed17 conference he will meet with Ms Davies to discuss pay matters.

The RCN said a date for the meeting had not yet been set.

Mr Hunt said: ‘We have our budget, that we have to live within, but public sector pay is a matter for the chancellor.

‘I will make sure our conversation is reflected back to him before we make that decision.’

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