From the TUC

How not to recruit and retain nurses

05 Jun 2014, by Guest in Public services

The NHS needs more nurses and healthcare assistants. Nurses are leaving the UK like never before to work overseas.

The government solution to this? No pay rise for nursing staff.

This is not just a slap in the face for hardworking nurses and healthcare assistants, but also a very real deterrent to anyone thinking about starting a career as a nurse.

UNISON has long promoted safer staffing levels and this was backed up by the Francis Inquiry into Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust hospital – the Francis report explicitly stated that poor staffing levels led to poor quality care.

But how can we expect nurses and healthcare assistants to deliver the quality patient care they want to when staffing shortages mean bigger workloads and no pay rise means they feel undervalued?

70% of nurses and midwives will not get a pay rise this year. The other 30% will receive a paltry 1% payment, but this will be a one-off payment – it won’t increase their hourly rate.

Healthcare assistants in particular are some of the lowest paid staff in the NHS, but they have to face the massive rises in the cost of living without a pay rise.

Food is up by over 9%, travel costs have risen 9.1% and university tuition fees are almost 20% higher.

Nurses and midwives are also faced with a potential 52% hike in their registration fee for the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Nursing staff just won’t be able to afford to practice.

This is not simply about pay – this is about showing nursing staff they are valued and ensuring we encourage and train a workforce that is fit for the present and prepared for the future. We cannot allow the NHS to be damaged by this government’s attacks on the NHS staff and services.

This is why our campaign matters and why we will continue to fight for fair pay for nurses and healthcare assistants.

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