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Readers panel: Is Jeremy Hunt right to prioritise increased nurse numbers over a pay rise?

At the recent chief nursing officer's summit, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he 'dearly' wants to increase nurse pay, but putting money into pay would make it difficult to increase doctor and nursing numbers. Nursing Standard readers have their say. 
Numbers_v_pay-iStock.jpg

At the recent chief nursing officer's summit, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he 'dearly' wants to increase nurse pay, but putting money into pay would make it difficult to increase doctor and nursing numbers. Nursing Standard readers have their say

Lauren Ferrier is a nursing student in Scotland

I reject the idea that we must choose between paying nurses fairly and maintaining nurse numbers. It is unacceptable that nurses have seen their salary reduced by 14% in real terms since 2010, and if this continues nursing numbers will reduce, despite efforts by the government to increase them. What would the incentive be for starting a long and expensive nursing degree when you can earn the same wages in an unskilled profession?

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At the recent chief nursing officer's summit, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he 'dearly' wants to increase nurse pay, but putting money into pay would make it difficult to increase doctor and nursing numbers. Nursing Standard readers have their say


The health secretary has said there is not enough money to improve nurse pay and increase staff numbers. Picture: iStock

Lauren Ferrier is a nursing student in Scotland 

I reject the idea that we must choose between paying nurses fairly and maintaining nurse numbers. It is unacceptable that nurses have seen their salary reduced by 14% in real terms since 2010, and if this continues nursing numbers will reduce, despite efforts by the government to increase them. What would the incentive be for starting a long and expensive nursing degree when you can earn the same wages in an unskilled profession? Solutions need to be sought instead of consistently placing the burden onto nurses.  

 

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

Jeremy Hunt's comments about how he would love to increase nurses' pay are patronising. It is the sort of thing you say to a child who wants more pocket money. And what he said at the CNO conference about the NHS facing a big challenge in nursing recruitment post-Brexit is just playing politics. We couldn't recruit enough nurses even before the Brexit vote, in large part due to poor pay. By not increasing nurses' pay, the problem will remain. 

 

Stephanie Cumming is a practice nurse in Warwickshire 


Nurse recruitment and retention is a huge problem in the NHS, and is certainly linked to the pay restraint nurses have faced over the past few years. It is all very well for Jeremy Hunt to say he would 'dearly' love to pay nurses more, but he is naïve if he thinks nurse numbers and pay are not linked. If he wants to increase nurse numbers, he needs to focus on improving pay, which will hopefully improve retention of nurses in the NHS.
 

Jane Scullion is a respiratory nurse consultant in Leicester 
@JaneScullion 

What Jeremy Hunt doesn't seem to get is that if there is no pay rise, potential recruits will not join the profession, and existing staff will continue to leave at the rate they are now. It's not about massive salary hikes, it's about fair cost-of-living rises. If you continue to pay peanuts you will be lucky even to get monkeys. 


Readers panel members give their views in a personal capacity only

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