The government has, after much confusion, spelled out how little they value our hard-working nursing staff.
They expect highly skilled, often degree-educated healthcare professionals to keep our country healthy on the cheap.
After it became clear the Care Minister wouldn’t be announcing this award in the Commons, nursing staff came to Parliament.
Some came straight after their shifts to show politicians they are serious.
I joined them on the banks of the Thames. They told me they were upset and unhappy. They feel undervalued but they remain dignified and know their struggle for fair pay doesn’t end here.
Graham Revie, chair of the RCN trade union committee, says the fight for fair pay pre-dates the pandemic
The fight for fair pay predates Covid-19. Staff shortages, high stress levels and unhealthy working environments were all having an impact on the provision of care and the wellbeing of staff before this pandemic.
These long-standing pressures have been exacerbated by the crisis, and our members have told us clearly that they are working harder than ever – yet feeling less valued.
Nursing pay has fallen significantly since 2010 – by 15 per cent in real terms for experienced nurses, meaning they are thousands of pounds worse off.
As inflation is predicted to rise above three percent, this increase is in fact another pay cut by any other name.
Experienced nurses are over £200 a year worse off when you look where government says inflation will be.
Furious nurses could strike over the proposed 3% pay rise, which is less than inflation
If the government is serious about filling the tens of thousands of nursing vacancies then a significant pay rise is needed.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid had an opportunity to show this government values NHS staff and understands that a decent pay rise is essential for the delivery of safe and effective patient care.
Put very simply: if nursing staff feel respected and paid fairly for their skill and expertise, then more of them will stay in the profession.
Talented nurses will leave the profession if they continue to be overworked and underpaid
(Image: Andrew Teebay/Liverpool Echo)
I do not believe that this government is taking seriously our patients’ right to be provided safe and effective care. And in the face of this award, I believe the public will see this as well.
Nursing staff told the Prime Minister what needed to happen to save our health service, now and in the future, yet he disregarded it.
The public must wonder why he thinks he knows better than the people who made the difference in this pandemic when it counted.