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Healthcare unions demand a 3.9% pay rise for a million NHS staff

Sarah J

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Unions, representing nurses and other healthcare professionals, have written to the chancellor to demand a 3.9% pay rise for a million NHS staff.

Fourteen trade unions, including the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Midwives, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Unite and the GMB, have together written to the chancellor demanding a 3.9% pay rise plus an additional extra £800 to make up for the real-terms pay cut they have seen in recent years.

The increase would add an extra £3bn to the NHS pay bill but unions say this must come from the government rather than the NHS budget.

This week the government said it had scrapped the “hard cap” on pay for public sector workers and claimed there would be more “flexibility” in the future. But, that they need to wait for the reports of individual pay review bodies.

Earlier this month the Royal College of Nursing said that industrial action was on the table if the government failed to present an adequate pay deal to nurses.

Unison head of health Sara Gorton said;

“Health workers have gone without a proper pay rise for far too long. Their wages continue to fall behind inflation as food and fuel bills, housing and transport costs rise.”

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said it is important the money to pay for the rise is found by the Treasury rather than taken from the NHS budget.

“When ministers hold pay down, it drives too many nurses out of the NHS”.

The RCN says it will also be submitting detailed evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body on motivation, morale, recruitment and retention issues for nursing staff, the economic impact of years of pay restraint and the workload pressures caused by short staffing.

A government spokeswoman said:

“Public sector workers, including NHS staff, do a fantastic job, and the government is committed to ensuring they can continue to deliver world-class public services.

“The government will continue to ensure that the overall package is fair while also being affordable to taxpayers as a whole.”

The British Medical Association has not signed the letter.

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Patients are being mislead by unregistered staff using the “Nurse” title

Ian Snug

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Leading nurses warn that organisations are employing unregistered care staff with job titles describing them as “nurses”.

A study has that found hundreds of roles which do not require Nursing and Midwifery Council registration used the term “Nurse” in the job title.  This, understandably, has caused concern that patients are being misled and staff could be working beyond their competence.

According to the Health Service Journal, Jane Cummings, Englands’ Chief Nursing Officer, has written to NHS leaders calling for them to ensure staff who use the nurse title are in fact registered nurses.

We found several examples, on the NHS jobs website, of positions which utilise the “Nurse” title but do not require an NMC Registration to apply;

  • Assistant Nurse Practitioner.
  • Enhanced Supervision Nurse.
  • Clinical Support Nurse.
  • Associate Nurse.
  • Complex Support Nurse.
  • Assistant Nurse.
  • Auxilliary Nurse.
  • Nurse Support Worker.

Jackie Smith, the NMC’s Chief Executive and Registrar, has previously said;

“If individuals are calling themselves nurses and they are not on our register, then from a patient perspective that is quite worrying. Employers should not mislead patients into thinking the person in front of them is a registered nurse when they are not. They have a duty to make that clear to patients”.

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary, said:

“Support workers play an extremely important role but there must always be a clear distinction between them and trained nurses.

“As the shortage of nurses begins to bite, the NHS is increasingly filling shifts with more unregistered care staff. They do not have the qualifications and training of registered nurses and it is unfair on the all sides, not least patients, when they replace more qualified staff.

“The Government must not allow nursing on the cheap. When the number of registered nurses on shift falls, it is patient outcomes and mortality rates that are adversely affected.”

Presently, only the title “Registered Nurse” is protected but staff are calling for the title “Nurse” to also be protected.

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MP insists nurses are already well paid compared to hairdressers, plumbers or carpenters

James M

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An MP has come under fire for saying that nurses are already well paid when compared to hairdressers, plumbers and carpenters in his constituency.

During last weeks debate on scrapping the NHS pay cap, Conservative MP Eddie Hughes said he wanted to ‘bring some context’ to the argument and went on to say that NHS staff already have a good deal when compared to hairdressers, plumbers and carpenters in his Walsall constituency.

But, Hughes has come under fire from NHS staff with nurses reiterating the issue not just about pay. The significant real-terms has also caused many nurses to turn to food banks and caused further issues with staff recruitment and retention as student nurse numbers significantly are affected.

Valerie Vaz, the Labour MP for Walsall South, said his comments ‘echoed the government’s contempt for our NHS workers’ and went on to reiterate that nurses are being forced to use food banks to make ends meet and NHS.

Speaking in Parliament, Eddie Hughes, said;

“I completely welcome the hard work that is done by NHS staff up and down the country, but please let me bring some context to the debate.

“The average income in my constituency is £440 a week, which is approximately £23,000 a year. I intend to advocate on behalf of all my constituents, not just those who work in the public sector. The average salary in my constituency is £23,000, which is about the same as a qualified nurse starts on.

“Many workers in my constituency are employed as hairdressers, plumbers or carpenters, and what pay rise do they get? They have had to work hard every year for their pay, and when we make the comparison using other factors, such as pension schemes, we see that in order to earn the same sort of pension a plumber would need to be putting away 43 per cent of their salary. Yes, we value the public sector in this country, but the Conservatives value all the workers in this country.”

You can view Eddie Hughe’s speech here.

Mike Adams, regional director of the Royal College of Nursing in the West Midlands, said; “They deserve nothing less than fair pay. As it is, we know many nurses work over their hours without pay as a result of staying on after the scheduled end of their shift or working through their breaks to ensure patients are well cared-for”.

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