Pay cap removal must translate to a meaningful pay rise

The health secretary’s announcement that the NHS pay cap has been scrapped must be capitalised on before next year’s pay award, writes managing editor Gary Paragpuri

It’s easy to write about the woes of the NHS. It’s even easier to criticise the inability of political leaders to agree on a plan to secure the future of the NHS – the one institution that most people see as the defining success of our modern society.

This week is no different. We report on demands for tougher sanctions against those who assault NHS staff and assertions that nursing workforce planning is more than a ‘game of chess’ in which nurses are moved from one place to another as a stop-gap solution. There are enough issues for endless discussions on late-night political shows.

Nurses will expect little to change. The profession has become accustomed to seeing key issues batted to and fro by bickering MPs before they move on to tomorrow’s news.

Campaigning for change

But there is one piece of news that absolutely shouldn’t be lost in this week’s political melee, and that’s Jeremy Hunt’s admission – at long last – that it is not sustainable to carry on with the 1% pay cap for NHS staff and that there is ‘leeway’ for more flexible negotiations next year.

This is very welcome news but we can’t sit back and wait for next year's pay announcement. We need a coordinated campaign to provide evidence on all the ways that nurses bring value to patients, taxpayers and the wider health and social agenda if we are to make the most of this rare opportunity.

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