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Nurses launch campaign to highlight unpaid overtime

RCN members at selected trusts will record extra time and claim monies owed

Caroline White

Tuesday, 03 February 2015

Nurses have launched a campaign (What if) to highlight the extra hours of unpaid work they are regularly doing, following a pilot at the Lister Hospital, part of the East and North Herts NHS Trust.

The Royal College of Nursing says that this is helping to prop up the NHS as it goes through one of the most challenging times in its history.

At selected Trusts in the English regions and Northern Ireland, RCN members will be recording and claiming for any excess hours they work or breaks they are unable to take as a way of highlighting instances where their contractual rights are not being met. 

Nursing staff at the Lister Hospital have been recording their hours since the start of the year in a pilot scheme, and nursing staff at other trusts are now set to join in.

The Trusts taking part in the campaign are: East and North Herts NHS; Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust; Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust; Birmingham Women’s NHS Foundation Trust; Weston Area Health NHS Trust; Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Tameside NHS Foundation Trust; Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust; Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust and Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

Dr Peter Carter, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary said: “Day in and day out, nursing staff go above and beyond for their patients. Anyone who has had contact with a member of the nursing profession over recent years will know just how long their working day is and how hard they work.”

He added: “The current government regularly says how much it values NHS staff but the failure to pay them for the extra work they do sends out a very different message.”

Given that this is an election year, all the political parties needed to listen to nurses’ concerns about their pay and working conditions, he insisted. 

“Enough is now enough and the RCN is supporting our members to ensure that their contractual rights are met,” he said.

Michael Brown, Chair of Council said: "Every day we hear from members who are struggling with years of pay restraint and enormous job pressures. It’s high time that nurses and other health care professionals were paid a fair and accurate wage for the tough, demanding job that they do. “We are committed to helping them achieve this.”

In its submission on seven-day services to the independent NHS Pay Review Body (PRB), last month, UNISON said the plans would ignite further discontent over pay, because they would be brought in “on the cheap.”

A report by Keele University for UNISON, which formed part of the union’s submission to the PRB, portrays a dedicated workforce that is committed to patients, but overworked, pressurised, understaffed and undervalued.

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