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What does the Doctors Strike Mean for Nurses?

Nursing Notes

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BBC News

Tens of thousands of junior doctors took to the streets of London today in a protest against the proposed changes their contracts. What are the proposed changes and how will they effect Nurses?

The NHS is overworked and underfunded. Everyone who works in the NHS goes the extra mile and stay for hours after their shift has finished. Why? Because they care about their patients. According to the Royal College of Physicians the NHS has been running on the ‘goodwill’ of staff for years. The government refuses to admit there is even in a problem with the NHS at present.

It’s not just about the money. Junior Doctors, like Nurses work hard, but the proposed changes mean that Doctors will be asked to work longer hours will less safeguards in place. This could mean your patients are put at risk and treated by tired, overworked Doctors. It also means that these changes could be rolled out to all healthcare professionals.

It’s also about the money. Junior Doctors, will on average, take around a 30% paycut due to changes in their unsociable hours payout. The government has suggested that Monday to Saturday 7am to 10pm are ‘normal working hours’ and therefore shouldn’t be paid at a ‘premium’ – which is strange considering MPs just reduced their own working hours and increased their own pay. It is likely these changes would be rolled out to the Agenda for Change program if accepted by the medical staff.

There was no negotiation. The government tried to impose these changes on Doctors without a proper consultation. The BMA walked away from the negotiations just over a year ago because they stipulated every clause as ‘non-negotiable’. It is likely Nurses will be put in a similar position sometime soon with the RCN and Unison spearheading ‘negotiations’.

There will be a strike. Although a great show of solidarity Jeremy Hunt is unlikely to back down. Doctors are not taking strike action lightly. Emergency and essential services would remain covered. The BMA ballot next month on if strike action is to go ahead. It is likely that Junior Doctors will go on strike within the next year.

Would you support the Doctors strike? Do you think Nurses should consider the same action as Doctors?

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Patients are being mislead by unregistered staff using the “Nurse” title

Ian Snug

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Leading nurses warn that organisations are employing unregistered care staff with job titles describing them as “nurses”.

A study has that found hundreds of roles which do not require Nursing and Midwifery Council registration used the term “Nurse” in the job title.  This, understandably, has caused concern that patients are being misled and staff could be working beyond their competence.

According to the Health Service Journal, Jane Cummings, Englands’ Chief Nursing Officer, has written to NHS leaders calling for them to ensure staff who use the nurse title are in fact registered nurses.

We found several examples, on the NHS jobs website, of positions which utilise the “Nurse” title but do not require an NMC Registration to apply;

  • Assistant Nurse Practitioner.
  • Enhanced Supervision Nurse.
  • Clinical Support Nurse.
  • Associate Nurse.
  • Complex Support Nurse.
  • Assistant Nurse.
  • Auxilliary Nurse.
  • Nurse Support Worker.

Jackie Smith, the NMC’s Chief Executive and Registrar, has previously said;

“If individuals are calling themselves nurses and they are not on our register, then from a patient perspective that is quite worrying. Employers should not mislead patients into thinking the person in front of them is a registered nurse when they are not. They have a duty to make that clear to patients”.

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary, said:

“Support workers play an extremely important role but there must always be a clear distinction between them and trained nurses.

“As the shortage of nurses begins to bite, the NHS is increasingly filling shifts with more unregistered care staff. They do not have the qualifications and training of registered nurses and it is unfair on the all sides, not least patients, when they replace more qualified staff.

“The Government must not allow nursing on the cheap. When the number of registered nurses on shift falls, it is patient outcomes and mortality rates that are adversely affected.”

Presently, only the title “Registered Nurse” is protected but staff are calling for the title “Nurse” to also be protected.

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MP insists nurses are already well paid compared to hairdressers, plumbers or carpenters

James M

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An MP has come under fire for saying that nurses are already well paid when compared to hairdressers, plumbers and carpenters in his constituency.

During last weeks debate on scrapping the NHS pay cap, Conservative MP Eddie Hughes said he wanted to ‘bring some context’ to the argument and went on to say that NHS staff already have a good deal when compared to hairdressers, plumbers and carpenters in his Walsall constituency.

But, Hughes has come under fire from NHS staff with nurses reiterating the issue not just about pay. The significant real-terms has also caused many nurses to turn to food banks and caused further issues with staff recruitment and retention as student nurse numbers significantly are affected.

Valerie Vaz, the Labour MP for Walsall South, said his comments ‘echoed the government’s contempt for our NHS workers’ and went on to reiterate that nurses are being forced to use food banks to make ends meet and NHS.

Speaking in Parliament, Eddie Hughes, said;

“I completely welcome the hard work that is done by NHS staff up and down the country, but please let me bring some context to the debate.

“The average income in my constituency is £440 a week, which is approximately £23,000 a year. I intend to advocate on behalf of all my constituents, not just those who work in the public sector. The average salary in my constituency is £23,000, which is about the same as a qualified nurse starts on.

“Many workers in my constituency are employed as hairdressers, plumbers or carpenters, and what pay rise do they get? They have had to work hard every year for their pay, and when we make the comparison using other factors, such as pension schemes, we see that in order to earn the same sort of pension a plumber would need to be putting away 43 per cent of their salary. Yes, we value the public sector in this country, but the Conservatives value all the workers in this country.”

You can view Eddie Hughe’s speech here.

Mike Adams, regional director of the Royal College of Nursing in the West Midlands, said; “They deserve nothing less than fair pay. As it is, we know many nurses work over their hours without pay as a result of staying on after the scheduled end of their shift or working through their breaks to ensure patients are well cared-for”.

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