he Government is being urged to reconsider its 3% pay award to NHS staff after nurses overwhelmingly described it as “unacceptable”.
More than nine out of 10 members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in England and Wales voted in a consultative ballot saying the controversial award was not acceptable.
RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said: “Just a week after Boris Johnson talked about ‘good wages’ for nursing staff, they are delivering a clear verdict on his NHS pay award.
Ministers must avoid a further escalation of this situation. Faced with this result, they can signal they intend to listen and do the right thing
“We are placing the matter back in the hands of politicians and asking what they are going to do next.
“Ministers must avoid a further escalation of this situation. Faced with this result, they can signal they intend to listen and do the right thing.
“Our members expect to see action from governments across the UK to pay nursing staff fairly.
“It is against the best interests of the health service, staff and patients for this issue to remain unaddressed – ministers are pushing people out of nursing when there are tens of thousands of unfilled jobs and patient care is being impacted.”
Graham Revie, who chairs the RCN Trade Union Committee, said: “RCN members have made their voice heard and ministers in Westminster and Cardiff must think again about how they are treating nursing staff.
“Members deserve to be paid fairly – nursing has earned it and our patients deserve it.
“Unsafe staffing levels hamper patient care. Fair pay is one major way of keeping people in work and attracting the next generation into our profession.
“The future of this campaign will always be determined by RCN members – this campaign is led by members like me in the interests of the whole profession.”
The RCN said nursing staff in Northern Ireland will have to wait until next month to see if additional funding requested from the Northern Ireland Executive will be made available.
In Scotland, RCN members are in a dispute with the Scottish government and NHS Scotland employers after they rejected an offer which gave them an average 4% pay increase.