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RCN issues formal apology over NHS pay deal

Guidance provided for RCN reps last week confirms that the union was aware of the correct information but failed to highlight it to its members.

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The Royal College of Nursing has apologised to members over the recent NHS pay deal.

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and Registrar of the Royal College of Nursing, has today written to members to apologise after staff failed to receive the 3% increase that was promised.

During the consultation over NHS pay, unions told their members that they would recieve a minimum of a 3% uplift in July and this would be back-paid from April. However, it has come to light that both these statements are incorrect. Earlier this week NHS staff took to social media in mass to complain the pay deal was ‘mis-sold’.

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Guidance provided for RCN reps last week confirms that the union was aware of the correct information but failed to highlight it to its members during the consultation. The document states; “Those members of staff currently at the bottom point will see an increase of over 3%. The initial increase for most other staff will typically be 1.5% until they reach their normal incremental pay date.” 

Adding; “You can reassure members that once they have reached their incremental pay date, their annual salary will have increased in 2018/19 by more than 3% – and in some cases significantly more than 3%.”

Backpay was never planned for July.

NHS employers has stated that it was always the intention for NHS staff to receive their backpay in August and claims the RCN have not raised any concerns over the pay deal.

Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers, said: “The position of NHS Employers has always been that staff will be assimilated and paid on the new pay structure in July, and backpay will be paid from August, subject to local payroll arrangements. I can only apologise for any confusion there has been.”

However, the Royal College of Nursing said on its website the back-payment was delayed as “Making the necessary payroll changes just as the school holidays start is proving challenging”. 

Mr Mortimer added, following todays apology, “I am disappointed by this communication and surprised as no concerns were raised with us. While I do not recognise the account Ms Davies presents, clearly if there are concerns we will work with the RCN and all the NHS’s trade unions to resolve them.”

‘We told all members they would recieved a 3% uplift’.

In the statement, Janet Davies said; “I wanted to write to you myself over the recent NHS pay deal. It has come to my attention in the last 24 hours that the deal was not as straightforward as we said and for that I offer you a sincere personal apology.

“I’m as dismayed and angry as you are and will fight the corner of members at every turn. In good faith, we told all members that they would receive a 3 per cent uplift this summer. I now find that this is not the case for everyone.

“I can assure you that I am demanding answers for you. In the meantime, I can only apologise for this unnecessary confusion and assure you that I am determined to resolve it. Your elected Council and Trade Union Committee will be meeting in the next few days and I will update you on next steps.”

Today, senior union members have called for a vote of no confidence in the RCN leadership.

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Nursing vacancies hit record high leaving patient care at risk

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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