Connect with us

Workforce

Nurses ‘working on edge of safety’ and staffing is the ‘single biggest’ issue

Published

on

Image: © Soonthorn

The organisation which represents NHS leaders says staff shortages in the NHS pose a fundamental risk to patient safety.

A report by NHS Providers reveals that staffing shortages are now the number one concern in the NHS and healthcare staff are working on the “edge of safety” as demand for services has increased by up to 300% but staffing has not been proportionally increased.

Advertisement

Ministers, however, say there are plans to tackle the problem after Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, announced ‘the biggest expansion of nurse training in the history of the NHS’.

But, Saffron Cordery, of NHS Providers, has criticised the training plans saying there is no “coherent or credible” strategy to tackle the issues saying; “They are now working on the edge of safe services. We are seeing so much pressure on the front line”.

The news comes only weeks after the RCN raised concerns over staffing levels and the NMC said they were ‘alarmed’ at the number of nurses leaving the profession.

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour Shadow Health Secretary, said;

“This is a damning report. The staffing crisis facing our NHS reflects a fundamental failure at national level on workforce strategy.

“In the upcoming Budget, the government must fully fund the scrapping of the pay cap for NHS staff and bring forward wider funding to put our NHS on a sustainable footing.”

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said:

Advertisement

“NHS leaders fear that patients are paying the price as staffing shortages bite. Ministers can no longer dismiss warnings of this kind.

“When the NHS has never been busier, it is haemorrhaging experienced nurses at a faster rate than it can find new recruits. For as long as we fail to train enough British nurses, we must be able to recruit the best from around Europe. If there is a ‘cliff edge’ in 2019, it will be the NHS going over it.

“Year after year of real-terms pay cuts, compounded by extreme pressure in the NHS, left too many seeing no future in nursing. We support the report’s call for the Government to fund a future pay rise with additional money.

“Theresa May must send out the message that EU professionals working here are desperately needed. There are already 40,000 unfilled nurse jobs in England alone and the number entering training is falling.

“The nursing profession has seen years of poor decisions and excessive cost-cutting – we need investment in nurse education and a new law that makes ministers and others accountable for proper workforce planning and mandated safe staffing levels.”

UNISON say the report “hits the nail on the head” with Sara Gorton, Head of Health, saying;

“This report hits the nail on the head. The NHS finds itself at the heart of a vicious circle. As demands on the health service grow, and pay continues to dive as prices soar, staff are understandably attracted to jobs where the pressures are less extreme and the wages more competitive.

“Poor pay and the image that the NHS is a stressful place to work put off potential recruits, increasing the strain on remaining health staff. And so the workforce problems deepen.

“The government must listen to those that know the NHS best, and stop making it so hard for them to care for the injured and ill.

“Finding the money in the Budget to give all health workers an above inflation pay rise would be the first step to turning around the fortunes of the NHS and those that are working so hard to keep it afloat.”

The report titles; There for us: a better future for the NHS workforce, was released prior to the NHS conference today.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

News

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.

Published

on

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.

Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

“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.

Continue Reading

Workforce

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.

Published

on

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.

Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

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.”

Continue Reading

Workforce

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.”

Published

on

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.

Advertisement

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.”

Advertisement

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.

Continue Reading