Editorial

Summer of protest is our best chance to scrap the cap

The government’s position is weak, so now is the time for the nursing profession to unite in pursuit of a fairer pay deal, writes editor Graham Scott.

Momentum has been building and now is the time for nurses and other NHS staff to seize the moment.

The government is weak and there is popular support for an end to the 1% public sector pay cap, so the RCN’s summer of protest on the issue has every chance of success.

Workforce in crisis

The crisis facing the nursing workforce cannot be overstated. One body responsible for workforce planning, Health Education England, admits that 87,000 nurses are expected to leave by 2021 – and that’s in addition to the 36,000 due to retire. So almost a third of nurses will soon have left the profession in England alone.

There are nowhere near enough new nurses being trained, and the European Union tap has been turned off. The only options are to recruit from elsewhere in the world, to persuade those who have left to return, and to retain those already in post.

The last option makes the most sense, not least because retaining staff incurs none of the costs of expensive overseas recruitment campaigns or return-to-practice courses.

United front

So a focus on retention must be the way to go. That means improving pay and conditions, allowing more flexible working and employing enough nurses so that staff are not worn out or even burnt out to the extent they decide to quit.

This is the time for everyone in the profession to unite in pursuit of a fairer pay deal, so join the #scrapthecap campaign on social media and engage your colleagues. Victory is in sight.

To join the campaign click here

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