Connect with us

Workforce

Last years’ pay deal ‘will never make up for years of pay restraint’, admits RCN

While the three-year pay deal could never make up for the the total loss in earnings – it should help to attract and retain nurses.

Published

on

RCN Sign
Shutterstock

The Royal College of Nursing has provided the NHS pay review body with some stark warnings about the state of the nursing workforce.

In document submitted as evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB), the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has admitted that, while the three-year pay deal could never make up for the the total loss in earnings, it should help to attract and retain nurses.

The NHSPRB is an independent organisation that advises the Government on pay and conditions of NHS staff. Although the NHSPRB has been instructed not to make any further recommendations for the duration of the pay deal, it has been tasked with monitoring the implementation and impact of the deal.

Advertisement

Last years’ pay deal was embroiled in controversy when staff did not receive the pay rise they were expecting and an external investigation revealed significant failings in unions handling of the deal.

In its submission, the college also raises major concerns around an increase in the total number of staff leaving the register and a drop in the number of registered nurses employed across all settings.

The college also warns that the uncertainty of Brexit is causing European staff to be “driven away”.

‘Making up for lost ground’.

In the document, the college writes; “Research undertaken by the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) shows that nursing staff from the European Economic Area (EEA) are being driven away due to uncertainty over their future rights in the wake of the Brexit vote.”

“Staff shortages are impacting upon NHS organisations’ ability to adequately staff departments and services, leading in some cases to the closure of services.”

“Although there are no official vacancy statistics for England, according to NHS Improvement, the total number of vacancies among the nursing workforce has risen by 9% to 41,722 between the first quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018. Of these vacancies, it is estimated that 80% are being filled by a combination of bank (64%) and agency staff (36%), leaving over 8,300 vacancies unfilled. Over this period, the vacancy rate has grown from 10.9% to 11.8%.”

”These statistics illustrate the size of the challenge presently facing the NHS. Moreover, further analysis shows the very real impact on the workforce in terms of their own safety, wellbeing and morale and their ability to deliver safe care. Staff shortages are impacting upon NHS organisations’ ability to adequately staff departments and services, leading in some cases to the closure of services.

Calling for “urgent action“ the college adds while the three pay agreements will not make up for the total loss in earnings experienced by nursing staff as a result of pay restraint in the NHS, the RCN is hopeful that they will start to make up for lost ground and provide a foundation for attracting new recruits, retaining existing staff and ensuring safe staffing levels.”

In its recommendations, the college calls for the NHS pay review body to support a “meaningful pay rise” for NHS staff.

Workforce

Nursing vacancies hit record high leaving patient care at risk

It can be “dangerous” when there aren’t enough nurses to provide care.

Published

on

Patient Falls Risk with IV

There are now a record 43,671 empty nursing posts in the NHS in England alone.

NHS figures show that there are now a record 43,671 empty nursing posts in the NHS in England alone, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The College says a global shortage of nurses alongside the removal of the nursing bursary has compounded this figure which now sees 12% of posts through the NHS in England without a full-time Registered Nurse.

Advertisement

Figures from the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) show a 29% overall decline in applications to undergraduate courses since 2015, when the bursary was cut by the Government.

In a report released today titled ‘Standing up for patient and public safety’, the Royal College of Nursing outlines the evidence of the need for a new law that allocates specific legal responsibilities for workforce planning and supply.

A new law is needed.

The report states that in order to address the record number of vacancies, and the gap between the numbers of health and care staff needed to deliver patient care vs. how many are in the system.

Figures included in the report reveal that the number of nursing staff has consistently failed to keep up with the dramatic rise in demand for services and the number of emergency admissions.

The report finally makes a further call for legal clarity on the roles, responsibilities, as well as accountabilities, for workforce planning and supply.

In September, after pressure from RCN members, NHS England and NHS Improvement asked the Government for clarity over who is accountable for the nursing workforce.

‘Nurses are working harder than ever’.

Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said: “Nurses are working harder than ever to deliver safe patient care but are being held back by a system that is legally lacking teeth. Despite the public, patients and nurses all agreeing that clarity is needed on responsibilities for delivering enough nurses, we have yet to see any government pledge anything of the like, and as a result are staring down the barrel at a record 43k empty nursing posts.

“We know how dangerous it can be when there aren’t enough nurses to provide care, but at present, almost all accountability rests with the frontline nurse working on the understaffed ward, rather than those responsible for the system they work in.

“We believe the time has come for change and that patient care was future-proofed by law, and that from the government down, decision makers are held to account.

Continue Reading

Workforce

NHS calls for clarity on who is accountable for the nursing workforce

Figures suggest there are around 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies throughout the NHS in England.

Published

on

Working nurses in the CCU

Healthcare leaders are calling for legislation to be included in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have called on the Government to clarify who is accountable for the nursing workforce and the chronic problems it’s currently facing.

Following ongoing pressure from nursing unions, the two organisations met today and recommend that the government should “revisit with partners whether national responsibilities and duties in relation to workforce functions are sufficiently clear.”

Advertisement

With around 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies in the NHS in England and thousands more throughout social care, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) believes the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care should be legally accountable for the workforce.

Along with other health care leaders, Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN, written to the Government calling for the legislation proposed by NHS England and NHS Improvement to be included in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

Staff shortages have reached ‘alarming levels’.

Responding to the news, Dame Donna Kinnair said: “We are pleased that NHS England and NHS Improvement has recognised the concerns of RCN members and the public and has stated that the issue of accountability for workforce planning and supply remains an area that needs be resolved.”

“In the week after we have launched a major public facing campaign calling for investment in the nursing workforce as well as for accountability to be clarified in the law, yet again, the case is made for this to be taken seriously.

“We are clear that government is well placed to determine how accountability can be clarified in law.

Adding; “Staff shortages have reached alarming levels with at least 40,000 vacant registered nurse posts in the NHS in England alone with thousands more vacancies in public health and social care.

“We now hope government will listen to this message, as well as the voices of the thousands of members that responded to the NHS England engagement process, and bring forward this legislation, taking the opportunity to include accountability in government and throughout the health and care system, for workforce planning and supply.”

Continue Reading

POPULAR