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Nurse morale ‘at all-time low’

RCN warns MPs that pay restraint could provoke exodus of nurses

Mark Gould

Monday, 07 April 2014

The chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing has written to MPs warning that the recent decision not to award a one per cent increase in staff pay has left nurse morale "at an all-time low".

In the letter, Dr Peter Carter has urged MPs across the political spectrum to support its efforts in contesting the decision. Last month, the independent NHS Pay Review Body recommended a one per cent cost of living increase for all staff on Agenda for Change contracts.

Despite previously saying that the increase was affordable, the Government is now refusing to implement it for all staff in the way that the Pay Review Body intended.

Dr Carter points out that contrary to what the Government is claiming, 60 per cent of nurses will receive no cost of living pay rise whatsoever. “The morale of the nursing workforce is at an all-time low. They feel they are being personally attacked or punished and many are viewing this refusal by the Government as the final straw and may leave the profession.

“We can ill-afford a further exodus, given the widely-accepted workforce issues already facing the NHS and the difficulties trusts all across the UK are having in recruiting nurses to vacant posts.

“Failing to award a modest one per cent cost of living increase to the workforce that has carried the NHS throughout huge reorganisation and large scale workforce cuts will prove to be short-sighted and damaging to the NHS in the long run.”

The letter also urges MPs to press the Secretary of State on the issue.

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