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NHS Pay Review Body Recommends 1% Pay Cap is Extended

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Healthcare workers are set to endure further pay restraint as the NHS Pay Review Body confirms the 1% pay cap is extended for another year.

In a report issued today the National Health Service Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) made a formal recommendation to the government that the 1% pay cap be extended for another financial year, until April 2018.

The new pay award is set to begin on the 1st of April 2017. You can view the Agenda for Change 2017 to 2018 Pay Scales for England on our dedicated site.

The NHSPRB is the organisation that makes ‘independent’ recommendations to the government on pay awards for nurses, health professionals and other NHS staff.

Many claim that todays news only adds insult to injury after last weeks announcement that substantive NHS will will be ‘banned’ from agency work within other NHS organisations.

Public sector workers alongside NHS staff have now suffered 9 years of pay restraint with pay falling dramatically short of the increased cost of living and inflation.

Michael Brown, RCN Chair of Council, explained that Nurses are seeing a “real-world pay cut” with salaries plummeting by more than 14% in real terms. You can use their pay calculator to find out your individual figure. 

The executive summery made the following recommendations;

  • We recommend a 1 per cent increase to all Agenda for Change pay points from 1 April 2017 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • We recommend a 1 per cent increase to the High Cost Area Supplement minimum and maximum payments.
  • We recommend that pay point 1 in Northern Ireland is adjusted so it is above the 2017/18 level of the National Living Wage.
  • The Health Departments in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should ensure that annual pay awards do not have unintended consequences in reducing the take-home pay of staff whose pay award causes them to cross pension contribution thresholds.

You can read the full report on the NHSPRB website.

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RCN says the NHS is Supplementing Nurses with Unregistered Staff

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The Royal College of Nursing says that 90% of England’s largest NHS Hospitals are short of Nursing staff and supplementing them with unregistered staff.

The analysis of data on the NHS Choices website by the Royal College of Nursing had confirmed that a large proportion of NHS hospitals are short of Nurses.

The RCN says the data demonstrates that NHS hospitals are supplementing Registered Nurses by putting more unregistered staff on shift. They explain that with the situation is worse at night when two-thirds of the largest hospital trusts put more health care assistants on the wards than planned.

These findings support the RCN’s recent research highlighting 40,000 nurse vacancies across the NHS in England despite NHS Digital only having adverts for 11,500 vacancies.

Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive, said the findings showed patients were being put at risk and called on the Government to increase the number of nurses.

“These startling figures show that, despite the Government’s rhetoric, our largest hospitals still do not have enough nurses and that is putting patients at risk.

“In light of this, the Government must redouble its efforts to train and recruit more qualified nurses and stop haemorrhaging the experienced ones who are fed up, undervalued and burning out fast.”

Janet went on to add it is unreasonable to expect unregistered staff to fill staffing gaps.

“It is unfair on the healthcare assistants too – they should not be left in a situation they have not been trained to handle.

“Nurses have degrees and expert training and, to be blunt, the evidence shows patients stand a better chance of survival and recovery when there are more of them on the ward.

The RCN has, once again, reiterated the need for safe staffing legislation to be brought into force in England – who have fallen behind both Scotland and Wales.

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‘Thousands’ of funded training places for Student Nurses & Midwives announced

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The Government has announced ‘up-to’ 10,000 extra funded places for student nurses, midwives and allied health professionals in England by 2020.

The Department of Health says that it plans to reinvest some of the annual £1.2bn it will save after removing bursaries from student nurses, midwives and allied healthcare professionals back into training new healthcare professionals.

This news comes only a week after the official end to the NHS Bursary system in England.

‘Extra’ university places will be available for a range of healthcare roles including; nursing, midwifery, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. The actual number of places will be officially revealed next week when universities begin to fill empty spaces on their courses through their clearing process.

Health Education England (HEE) has previously claimed it received no extra money to fund more clinical placements in the 2017-18 academic year but changes to the way educational placements work could be to blame.

Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, said:

“There just aren’t enough nurses in training to fill the thousands of vacant posts, and the removal of student nurse funding is only driving down applications further. Meanwhile, the pay cap is forcing many nurses out of the profession they love”.

Many claim the move is part of a bigger plan to create more ‘homegrown’ nurses as the government fails to reassure nurses from the EU that they will be welcome post-brexit.

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