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Rise of 5% above inflation needed to stop more nurses resigning

Argument that a ‘significant’ pay rise is essential to retain and recruit staff and tackle shortages was presented to NHS Pay Review Body this week
Illustration shows two figures holding a coin next to a basket of groceries, while nearby red arrows rise from a with a wallet and bill receipt

Argument that a ‘significant’ pay rise is essential to retain and recruit staff and tackle shortages was presented to NHS Pay Review Body this week

Nurses stressed the need for a significant wage increase to prevent many leaving the profession when they gave evidence to the body that advises the government on NHS pay.

An RCN team that included members from England, Northern Ireland and Wales made the case for a pay rise of 5% above inflation when they spoke to the NHS Pay Review Body this week about the 2022-23 pay round.

Nurses are facing huge rises in the cost of living which has left some struggling to pay energy bills

Argument that a ‘significant’ pay rise is essential to retain and recruit staff and tackle shortages was presented to NHS Pay Review Body this week

Illustration shows two figures holding a coin next to a basket of groceries, while nearby red arrows rise from a with a wallet and bill receipt
Picture: iStock

Nurses stressed the need for a significant wage increase to prevent many leaving the profession when they gave evidence to the body that advises the government on NHS pay.

An RCN team that included members from England, Northern Ireland and Wales made the case for a pay rise of 5% above inflation when they spoke to the NHS Pay Review Body this week about the 2022-23 pay round.

Nurses are facing huge rises in the cost of living which has left some struggling to pay energy bills or cover the cost of petrol. Household bills are expected to rise by about £700 this year.

Last month the government recommended a pay award of 2% to 3% for staff in England for 2022-23, which was branded tight-fisted by unions.

An analysis by Nursing Standard at the start of this year found nurses were up to £3,600 a year worse off than a decade earlier because wages have failed to keep pace with inflation.

If ministers don’t listen it will be patients who suffer when more nurses leave the profession, RCN says

Since then the situation has become even worse. Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show inflation hit a new 30-year high of 6.2% in the 12 months to February, up from 5.5% in January.

The RCN argues that fair pay for nurses is critical to recruiting and retaining staff and tackling widespread nurse shortages.

Picture: iStock

RCN Council chair Carol Popplestone said: ‘Our case is clear – our safety-critical profession is facing unprecedented challenges, rapidly rising living costs, unfair banding and years of underpayment. The facts speak for themselves – there is an undeniable and urgent need to improve nursing pay.’

RCN executive lead for pay Colin Poolman said: ‘If ministers don’t listen to us it will be patients who suffer when more and more nursing staff decide to leave the profession.’

A government spokesperson said it had submitted evidence on what pay rises were affordable at the same time as protecting front-line services and balancing other pressures on the public purse. The spokesperson said: ‘No decisions have been made, and we will carefully consider all pay recommendations this summer once their final reports are submitted.’

What is happening with the current pay offer?

An RCN England and Wales indicative ballot revealed half of nurses who took part would be willing to take strike action over the 3% pay offer for the current 2021-22 pay round, with 84% willing to take industrial action short of a strike.

Nurses in Scotland have said they are prepared to strike over their 4% pay offer for the same year, with 60% of RCN Scotland members who voted in an indicative ballot supporting strike action.

In Northern Ireland an RCN ballot showed 92% of members did not want to accept an offer of 3% made by the Health Service Executive. The college is currently consulting members on action.


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