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Royal College of Nursing

RCN move towards balloting members on industrial action

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by James M.
RCN move towards balloting members on industrial action

The Royal College of Nursing is set to ballot members on industrial action if the government does not commit to scrapping the pay cap.

The Royal College of Nursing has warned that unless the next Government explicitly removes the 1% cap on pay, it will hold a ballot on industrial action later – which could lead to the first ever strike by its members in its 100-year history.

The RCN, alongside 13 NHS trade unions, have demanded to see wage increases that match inflation plus an additional £800 consolidated lump sum for all staff to make up for the years of lost pay.

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In September the Government removed the 'hard cap' on public sector pay but only stated there would be "greater flexibility" for independent pay review bodies in the future. The union criticised the government for “vague” signals that there will be increased wage rises from next year.

The news comes only days after the RCN called for an “urgent review” of hospital staffing levels after they warned patient safety and dignity is being put at risk by over-stretched services.

It’s important the RCN have the right contact details for you! If they hold inaccurate data it could risk any ballot being discounted. The ballot will be done by post - so you must ensure your home address and employers contact details are correct.

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Unions call for pay deal to be extended to the private sector

Thousands of NHS workers, many of whom are the lowest paid, have been excluded from the deal because they are indirectly employed by the NHS.

Published on

by Ian Snug.
Unions call for pay deal to be extended to the private sector

Healthcare unions have warned that a “dangerous imbalance” between sectors could cause harm to patients.

The Royal College of Nursing and Unite have called on the government to ensure the NHS pay deal is extended to those providing NHS services in social care, the private sector and primary care.

The NHS pay deal, formally accepted by healthcare unions earlier this month, will mean at least a 6.5% increase for the majority of NHS staff in England. Pay negotiations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are ongoing.

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However, thousands of NHS workers employed by social enterprises, general practice, social care, arms-length bodies, independent and charitable providers, have been excluded from the deal because they are indirectly employed by the NHS but still have a direct impact on patient care.

Made to feel like the poor relations.

Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, Unite National Officer, said: “Excluding indirectly employed NHS workers from the new pay deal is unjust. It will be a disaster for morale with thousands of low paid NHS workers being made to feel like the poor relations of NHS employees. 

"Regardless of whether an NHS worker is employed by a private company or the NHS, they are still health workers and their contribution to patient’s health must be recognised.”

In a letter to Jeremy Hunt, Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "“I urge you to consider how to address the pay of all nurses and health care assistants providing NHS services, whoever their employer, so that a gap in pay does not result in workers being drawn away from primary, community and social care services.

”This would include those employed by social enterprises, general practice, social care, arms-length bodies, independent and charitable providers.

"I do believe that without this additional funding, we will see a dangerous imbalance of the workforce, which will significantly harm patients of non-NHS services.

"Many of our members delivering NHS services but not employed by NHS organisations complain that they endure poorer working conditions, loss of career and education opportunities,"

"We recommend the establishment of a new and separate national staff council, negotiating for all nurses and care assistants in health and social care who are not directly employed by an NHS organisation."

 

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Healthcare must be redefined as a safety critical industry, says RCN

Healthcare should be reframed as a safety critical industry in order to avoid errors and improve patient outcomes.

Published on

by Clare Bodell.
Healthcare must be redefined as a safety critical industry, says RCN

The Royal College of Nursing has called for the healthcare sector to be refined as a safety critical industry.

Healthcare should be reframed as a safety critical industry in order to avoid errors and improve patient outcomes, according to written and oral evidence submitted to the Draft Health Services Safety Investigation Bill Committee by the Royal College of Nursing.

Speaking at the Committee hearing earlier today, Dame Professor Donna Kinnair, Director of Nursing, Policy and Practice at the RCN, told MPs and Peers that while the College supports the creation of an independent body to investigate serious patient safety incidents in England, this could only work effectively if healthcare is redefined as a safety critical industry.

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Donna said the Bill in its current form places disproportionate emphasis on blaming individuals, and ignores examining the wider context in which mistakes can happen. As well as blaming frontline professionals for system issues beyond their control, this risks investigations failing to root out the true cause of errors, further compromising patient safety.

In light of the 40,000 nurse vacancies in England alone, the RCN has called for nurse staffing levels at the time of an incident to be reported by the HSSIB for every investigation.

In addition the College has called for concerns raised about staff shortages on shift before the incident to be noted by the investigation.

Safe staffing levels should be enshrined in law.

In England, 71 per cent of NHS day shifts in adult acute wards fell outside the recommended nurse to patient ratio (1:8) standard set out in the NICE guidelines. Of those, 26 per cent shifts had more than 14 patients to one nurse. The RCN has previously called for safe staffing levels to be enshrined in law.

The College also raised concerns that healthcare staff who speak out in HSSIB investigations must be guaranteed a genuine safe space in which to discuss errors. It further recommended that findings of investigations be shared with health and care providers both within the NHS and independent sector, in an anonymised and appropriate way.

Speaking at the hearing, Donna Kinnair, Director of Nursing, Policy and Practice at the RCN, said: “The HSSIB will have to tackle those thorny cultural issues such as lack of staff, which people so often say we can do nothing about. It becomes more and more perverse that we tend not to look at the issues that are right in front of us.

“One of the things we are very clear about is we have an understaffed health service. The fewer nurses you have on duty, the worse patient outcomes you have. Nurses deliver 70 per cent of care. We would be working with HSSIB to make sure safe staffing levels are enshrined in law.

“It’s cheaper and easier to deal with the individual, and place the blame on the individual’s head, but this is not the solution. We can make the system safer.”

Nurses are forced to deliver care in unsafe circumstances.

Speaking outside the hearing, Donna said: “To improve patient safety, HSSIB investigations must root out the true cause of errors including systemic failures by Government and agencies. With staffing levels on many shifts below recommended safety guidelines, it is unjust, and potentially misleading to emphasise individual blame when systems and procedures are at fault. 

“Many nurses already struggle in the knowledge they are forced to deliver care in unsafe circumstances, yet their concerns are often ignored. Investigations should note concerns raised prior to incidents, and must take into account inadequate staffing levels.

“Staff should not be held to account for all care that is delivered, irrespective of resources and funding. Appropriate levels of accountability have to exist at all levels, including Government.”

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Unbelievably poor turnout on vote over NHS Pay

Many healthcare professionals are unaware of the need to vote on the proposed changes or confused over the complexities of the deal.

Published on

by Ian Snug.
RCN starts balloting members over proposed pay deal

Only 10% of Royal College of Nursing members have voted on the proposed NHS Pay Deal.

Graeme Stokes, Chair of the Royal College of Nursing in Brighton and Hove, revealed on social media that only around 10% of RCN members have exercised their right to vote over the proposed NHS pay deal that was announced in March.

The proposals include significant changes to the agenda for change pay structure which will affect the majority of healthcare workers.

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In April, a leaked motion calling for RCN branches to reject the deal revealed several key concerns over the proposed pay deal.

NursingNotes revealed research last week which indicated that many healthcare professionals were unaware of the need to vote on the proposed changes or are confused over the complexities of the deal.

You still have time to vote.

When we contacted the Royal College of Nursing to comment on the rumoured poor turnout a spokesperson said; “Voting is still ongoing and we will announce the result when the poll closes in June.”

RCN members only have until the 5th of June 2018 to vote when the results of the consultation will be passed to the RCN Trade Union Committee who will make the final decision over the deal. RCN Member working for the NHS in England? You can vote here.

It is expected that the results of the consultation will be announced alongside other healthcare unions on the 8th of June 2018.

It is not known how these figures compare with other healthcare unions.

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