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Readers' panel: is the 1% pay cap destroying nurses’ morale?

Nurses have suffered a real terms pay cut of 14% since 2010. RCN lead pay negotiator Josie Irwin has warned the cost-saving policy is causing low morale among nursing staff, destabilising the workforce and putting patient care at risk. Nursing Standard readers’ panellists have their say.   
pay cap destroying nurses morale

Nurses have suffered a real terms pay cut of 14% since 2010. RCN lead pay negotiator Josie Irwin has warned the cost-saving policy is causing low morale among nursing staff, destabilising the workforce and putting patient care at risk. Nursing Standard readers panellists have their say

Jane Scullion is a respiratory nurse consultant in Leicester @JaneScullion

Our morale has been destroyed. Nurses have been left behind on the pay agenda and are at the back of the queue when it comes to considering even a cost of living increase. This is at a time when nurses are leaving the profession in droves viewing retirement a rosier picture than struggling on and recruitment is at an

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Nurses have suffered a real terms pay cut of 14% since 2010. RCN lead pay negotiator Josie Irwin has warned the cost-saving policy is causing low morale among nursing staff, destabilising the workforce and putting patient care at risk. Nursing Standard readers’ panellists have their say 

1% pay cap is destroying morale
Morale is dropping over the 1% pay cap. Picture: iStock 


Jane Scullion is a respiratory nurse consultant in Leicester
@JaneScullion

Jane Scullion

Our morale has been destroyed. Nurses have been left behind on the pay agenda and are at the back of the queue when it comes to considering even a cost of living increase. This is at a time when nurses are leaving the profession in droves – viewing retirement a rosier picture than struggling on – and recruitment is at an all-time low. England may expect every nurse to do his or her duty; nurses expect, and get, nothing. 


Rachel Kent is a mental health nurse in London 

Rachel Kent

Although I can appreciate the reasons why the 1% cap was introduced, it is not fair that nurses are being squeezed out of their jobs because of it, especially when some other ‘public servants’ pay is not restricted in the same way. A knock-on effect of this is nurses choosing to work for agencies, where they are paid a higher wage for doing the same job. This increases demand for agency nurses and worsens the vacancy rate, so is the 1% cap actually saving money? 


Lauren Ferrier is a nursing student in Aberdeen 

Lauren Ferrier
It is important to emphasise that nurses are not looking for a pay rise; they just want their wage to be kept in line with inflation so that they don’t continue to be worse off. Public service workers are effectively absorbing the cost of the financial industries’ inability to control inflation, while UK banks pay out billions each year in bonuses. This is neither fair nor respectful to the nursing profession. 


Daniel Athey is a staff nurse on an acute medical unit in Sheffield 
@danjathey

Daniel Athey

This is a straightforward equation: a pay increase that is less than the rate of inflation is a pay cut. Of particular relevance to nursing is the stark contrast between the pay rates of full-time NHS staff and agency staff. The bigger the difference in pay, the greater the feeling of discontent among nurses. This increases the likelihood of more staff jumping ship, which will only exacerbate the problem. 


Readers’ panel members give their views in a personal capacity and do not represent their organisations

 

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