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Nurses demand fresh negotiations following NHS consultant pay offer

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The 5% pay award for NHS nursing staff in England appears “increasingly inadequate” to keep up with inflation

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has expressed “extreme disappointment” that the UK government offered new pay to NHS consultants, while nursing pay deal remain disputed.

RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive Pat Cullen has written to new Health Secretary Victoria Atkins demanding fresh negotiations regarding this year’s pay deal, and requested an urgent meeting to discuss their dispute.

Pat warned that more than 100,000 RCN members in England voted for continued strike action in June, as they feel undervalued.

“The government has now shown it has the political will to negotiate on pay reform for some of the highest earners in the NHS in contrast to our members who received the lowest pay rise in the public sector,” she wrote in the letter.

NHS nursing staff in England was awarded a five per cent pay rise 2023/24, but the union argued that it is not enough to keep up with inflation.

Pat also pointed out that many nurses start and end their career on Agenda for Change Band 5 the lowest band of all regulated professionals in the NHS.

The letter reads, “It is time for nurses and nursing to be treated with the respect they deserve and for nursing pay also to be reformed.

“Nursing is one of the most diverse and female-dominated professions within the public sector, and the injustice of nursing pay is also a gender issue. The greatest pay inequality in the NHS relates to nursing. This must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

The union mentioned that in previous pay negotiations, the government assured to explore a separate nursing pay spine but that commitment “hasn’t received the urgency it needs.”

“The government should invest less time and attention in its attempt to impose draconian anti-strike laws on nursing staff and get back around the table and discuss nursing pay,” she wrote.

The issue must be resolved as “the NHS requires the stability of a nursing foundation and now more than ever,” she added.

(Image credit: RCN Magazine)

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