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MPs to debate call to remove 1% nurse pay cap

Recruitment suffering due to cap, says Royal College of Nursing

Jo Carlowe

Monday, 30 January 2017

MPs will today debate a call for the lifting of the 1% pay cap on public sector workers.

Catherine McKinnell, MP for Newcastle North, will lead the debate, which resulted from a petition started by Royal College of Nursing member Danielle Tiplady and signed by over 100,000 people.

At 4.30pm today members will debate the motion: “That this House has considered e-petition 168127 relating to pay restraint for Agenda for Change NHS staff.”

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN, said: “Nursing staff are the backbone of the health service, working under immense pressure to take care of people at their most vulnerable.

“It’s absolutely shameful these highly skilled, dedicated professionals are having to resort to food banks and pay day loans to make ends meet. They’re caring for the nation during a major crisis in the health service. We are only asking for a pay increase that keeps pace with the cost of living – it is the least our nurses deserve.”

The RCN states that due to the pay restraint enforced on all public sector staff since 2010, nurses are now 14% worse off in real terms. Recent analysis from the TUC has predicted a further salary drop of £2,500 by 2020.

Commenting, one nurse said: “This isn’t acceptable. It doesn’t inspire people to work for the NHS or even train to be a nurse. The way I feel at the moment, I wish I had chosen a different career.”

Another said: “Every day I come home exhausted. My children tell me it’s affecting my health, but I need the money to cover food and clothing. I rely on pay day loans for everything else.”

Financial hardship has left many nurses struggling to support themselves, the RCN states, forcing many to consider whether they can stay in the profession. 

With 24,000 nursing vacancies in the country, the RCN has called for the pay cap to be removed to help with staff retention and to attract more people into nursing.

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