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Hunt Announces End to ‘Rip off’ Agency Nurses

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Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, has this week announced that no agency Nurse or Doctor will be able to earn more than a regular NHS employee after April 2016.

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While this is unlikely to effect staff on permanent NHS contracts, agency staff are likely to be hit hard.

In the document released by the Department for Health, Hunt states that he plans to ban the ‘rip-off’ fees charges by some agencies.

While the document doesn’t specify a maximum fee or hourly rate for agency nurses this is expected to be announced closer to the time as the CQC and NHS England work together to device a plan.

RELATED: WOULD YOU GO ON STRIKE?

The impact this decision is likely to lead to chronic under-staffing of hospital wards, GP surgeries and other NHS services as Nurses will look for work elsewhere. This decision will not impact the work undertaken in private organisations like nursing homes or other forms of privately funded care.

Agency explain these raised costs by stating their Nurses are exposed to a high clinical risk, working in an unfamiliar environment, and needing to provide their own practice or indemnity insurance that would usually be provided by an employing trust.

This cut is forecast to save the NHS £1 billion over a three-year period although an impact on safe-staffing levels and care is expected by healthcare professionals.

Some professionals are criticising this move as it contravenes the ‘free-market’ attitude of Tory rule.

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NHS staff top list of those applying for payday loans

Nursing unions say years of cuts to NHS funding and pay restraint for NHS workers is to blame.

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NHS staff are among those most likely to rely on payday loans, suggests a study.

The payday loans study, which was commissioned by short-term credit broker CashLady, found that NHS staff were significantly more likely to apply for payday loans than workers at any other organisation.

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After NHS workers, supermarket workers at Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s, followed by staff at McDonald’s, Morrisons, Royal Mail and finally the British Army.

StepChange, the debt charity, says that the loans, which charge interest of up to 1,325% per year, are not a debt solution and can make your financial situation worse – the charity advises the majority of people to avoid using such services.

Nursing unions say years of cuts to NHS funding and pay restraint for NHS workers is to blame.

Gerry O’Dywer, Employment Relations Advisor at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “These figures reveal the financial pressure nursing staff are under. Years of pay cuts left them struggling to make ends meet.

“The health service cannot keep losing valuable highly-trained staff because they can’t afford to pay the bills each month. The proposed NHS Pay Deal would give NHS staff the largest pay rise in ten years – it will go some way in helping nursing staff and preventing nurses from leaving the profession.

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“The RCN’s own Lamplight Support Service also provides tailored financial advice and support for nursing staff.”

Sara Gorton, Unisons Head of Health, said; “No-one should be so desperate for money that they have no option but to go cap in hand to unscrupulous lenders, who offer quick and easy money at sky-high rates of interest that can take a lifetime to pay back.

“It’s a terrible state of affairs that NHS workers are so strapped for cash they don’t have enough money to get through the month, and have to go deep into debt trying. It shows how much harm years of government pay restraint has caused.”

NHS employers suffering with debt can contact their union or a national debt charity for advice and assistance.

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RCN starts balloting members over proposed pay deal

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has started to ask its members in England if the union should accept the first “significant pay rise” in 7 years.

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The Royal College of Nursing has started to balloting members over the proposed NHS pay deal.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has started to ask its members in England if the union should accept the first “significant pay rise” in 7 years.

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The negotiations, which concluded in March, came after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt scrapped the 1 percent cap on public sector pay rises following a campaign by the Royal College of Nursing.

All healthcare unions involved in the negotiations, with the exception of GMB, have recommended their members accept the pay deal. However, many have raised concerns over a further sub-inflation rise, changes to unsociable hours payments for ambulance and support staff, removal of agenda for change sick enhancements and changes to the incrementation system.


Can I vote? To be eligible to vote you must hold an active member of the Royal College of Nursing and work for an NHS hospital or community service in England.

Should I vote? Absolutely, a union is only as powerful as its membership. This is a democratic process that involves you and your future.

How should I vote? We cannot tell you how you should vote, you should weigh up your individual circumstances. You can take a look at the proposed Agenda for Change pay scales or use the pay calculator to find out the effect the rise would have on your salary. But, we encourage you to do your own research.

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How to vote: Eligible members will be contacted with an invitation to vote via email.

It says I’m not eligible: You need to contact the RCN Membership Team on 0345 7726 100.

How long do I have to vote? The online poll will run for six weeks – closing on Tuesday 5 June.


Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, said: “The serious amount of new money the Government put on the table is a credit to the nursing staff who turned up the heat on Ministers last year. Their strong campaigning meant negotiators could fend off all unpalatable demands to cut holidays or pay for unsocial hours.

“When there are 40,000 unfilled nurse jobs in England alone, voting yes to the best rise in a decade will go some way to making nursing an attractive career again.

“The deal is not a silver bullet to cure all ills nor can it rewrite history. But rejecting it would set back the fight for higher wages by eighteen months or longer and leave people worse off.”

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Rejecting the pay deal is ‘deluded’ and ‘unrealistic’, says RCN Negotiator

“Critics who advocate an aggressive rejection of the deal without a credible alternative approach may be deluded about the effectiveness of such a ‘male’ approach. They are also unrealistic.”

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The Royal College of Nursing’s Chief Negotiator claims that members who wish to aggressively reject the proposed NHS pay deal are ‘deluded’ and ‘unrealistic’.

Josie Irwin, the Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN) Chief Negotiator during the recent NHS pay discussions claims that members who wish to ‘aggressively reject’ the NHS pay deal are ‘deluded’ and ‘unrealistic’ about the alternatives.

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The RCN worked alongside fourteen other healthcare unions, including Unison, to negotiate the proposed NHS pay deal with the Government – which members are set to vote on later this month.

With gender pay gaps in the headlines and nursing being a predominantly female profession, the NursingStandard article titled, ‘A ‘male’ style of negotiation would not have delivered a better pay deal‘, argues that an all-female team nor a more aggressive ”male’-style’ of negotiating would have changed the outcome of the negotiations and the deal is the ‘best possible’ in the current economic climate.

Whilst many agree the gender of the team is irrelevant, the style and context of negotiations are certainly paramount.

Ms Irwin admits in the article; “It is not the best they [members] hoped for, but they [members] understand it is probably the best they will get.”

Concluding the article with; “Critics who advocate an aggressive rejection of the deal without a credible alternative approach may be deluded about the effectiveness of such a ‘male’ approach. They are also unrealistic.”

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The RCN warns that if members reject the offer, it is likely that pay recommendations would be made by the NHS Pay Review Body and as the £4.2 billion of extra funding agreed by the Treasury would no longer be available, the offer could revert to the 1% of previous years.

Many, including its own members, have raised concerns over the sub-inflation deal and the union has been heavily criticised on social media for its pro-deal agenda.

A spokesperson for the RCN said: “We make no apology for defending this hard-won deal in very strong terms. Every single member of the RCN will see their pay rise by considerably more than in recent years and that should not be forgotten.”

You can view the proposed changes to the agenda for change pay scales.

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