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Readers’ panel: will a pay rise be enough to stop nurses leaving the profession?

A broad boost in pay does not apply to nurses, yet many say they may quit over poor pay
A woman walking down a corridor in a hospital

A broad boost in pay does not apply to nurses, yet many say they may quit over poor pay

Forcing nurses to wait until next year for a pay rise is not acceptable, the RCN said after it emerged that a public sector pay increase announced by the chancellor will exclude those on Agenda for Change (AfC) contracts . NHS nurses and other AfC staff are in the final year of a three-year pay deal, but health unions want an early pay rise in a year in which COVID-19 has increased the burden on an already strained workforce.

Meanwhile,

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A broad boost in pay does not apply to nurses, yet many say they may quit over poor pay

A woman walking down a corridor in a hospital
Picture: iStock

Forcing nurses to wait until next year for a pay rise is ‘not acceptable’, the RCN said after it emerged that a public sector pay increase announced by the chancellor will exclude those on Agenda for Change (AfC) contracts. NHS nurses and other AfC staff are in the final year of a three-year pay deal, but health unions want an early pay rise in a year in which COVID-19 has increased the burden on an already strained workforce.

Meanwhile, an RCN survey found poor pay is the main reason why many nurses are considering leaving the profession. Of 41,798 RCN members who responded, more than a third said they were thinking of quitting, with 61% of them citing poor pay as the reason. 

Nursing Standard readers have their say.

 

Grant Byrne is a fourth-year nursing student in Edinburgh
@GGByrne

The RCN poll makes it clear that pay is a standout factor in nurses wanting to leave the profession. Another is the demands of the job – two issues linked in the ongoing recruitment crisis. Rising demand in the health service and rising inflation mean staff are working harder for less reward, and with COVID-19 many have reached their limit. If we are to keep these experienced nurses as well as attract new recruits, we must improve pay. But as the recent public sector deal has demonstrated, this may not happen anytime soon.


Rachel Kent is a mental health nurse in London

No. More money is useful when we need to pay our bills, look after ourselves and our families and maybe take a holiday when all this is over, but it won’t keep people in the profession. Bullying, burnout and poor leadership are all still a problem – and all have been around as long as poor pay. If people were happier in their jobs they might be willing to forego a pay rise, but at the very least, either the intrinsic or the extrinsic issues need to be addressed. It is not acceptable to neglect both and wonder why nurses are considering leaving the profession.


Liz Charalambous is a teaching associate at the University of Nottingham
@lizcharalambou

In sharp contrast with other public sector workers, nurses have been excluded from a salary increase. But it is not all about the pay rise. Good leadership and positive team cultures, opportunities for education and promotion, and feeling valued and supported by peers and those in senior positions – including politicians – all contribute to retention and recruitment. Yet it is now more evident than ever that nurses are not valued by this government. Weekly applause does not replace adequate remuneration. I fear nurses will continue to feel disenfranchised and have their goodwill exploited, and subsequently leave the profession.


Stacy Johnson is an associate professor at the University of Nottingham
@misssdjohnson

Stacy JohnsonSo, Britain’s most trusted profession, the tip of the spear, the very front of the front line in the COVID-19 fight, doesn’t get a pay rise. The three-year pay deal ends in 2021, following years of pay freezes that saw nursing salaries fall in real terms. I would have been satisfied with at least an explicit commitment to a review from the chancellor. Thank you for clapping and the kind words, but nurses and their families cannot survive on kind words, and we cannot attract and retain the best people on thank yous, thoughts and prayers. We need an above-inflation pay rise.


Readers’ panel members give their views in a personal capacity only

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