Posted by Danielle Tiplady · April 18, 2017 3:34 PM
A historic decision was made by the Royal College of Nursing to complete an indicative ballot for industrial action of its members regarding the 1% pay cap in recent weeks. The poll has opened and has caused a furore of energy and excitement. For too long we have been the silent workforce, going that extra mile and keeping the NHS afloat on our good will. That good will has now ran completely dry after years of poor treatment by the Conservative government. Since 2010 we have been completely under appreciated, we have lost over 14% in real terms pay, our bursaries for the future of our profession have been cut, our safe staffing ratios abolished before they even got started and the national health service that we all love underfunded making our jobs so very hard. Our patients care has been affected, people are being denied care and treatment, patients are waiting hours on trolleys. We have been pushed and our good will has been taken advantage of for too long.
This is not a decision the Royal College of Nursing would take lightly, and one that they have never taken before. This highlights the seriousness of the situation and we need every member of the public behind us, empowering RCN members to feel like it is the right thing to do to act. As an active member of the RCN i have been going around speaking to staff on wards to gauge their thoughts and encourage them to participate in the poll. After seven years of austerity measures by the conservative government there is a workforce beaten and broken whilst trying to care for our nation. Austerity is affecting the care we are able to provide. The pay cap is fuelling the retention and recruitment crisis, with a vacancy rate of 24,000 this is ever growing, staff are leaving the profession or working elsewhere due to poor pay. And who can blame them? We all need to be able to get by in the currently expensive economic climate. With more staff leaving this is putting more pressure on those who remain. And those who remain are worried about how they are going to make ends meet, their morale at rock bottom. To best care for patients we need to be cared for ourselves.
Posted by Danielle Tiplady · March 10, 2017 3:54 PM
Despite clear warnings from both staff and trade unions on the detrimental effect of the pay restraint on NHS staff, the government chose not to listen in their budget this week. Since 2010 our pay has been capped. With the rises in living costs, especially in London, it is estimated we have lost 14% in real terms pay.
NHS staff have been pushed into hardship. In a Unison survey of 21,000 health workers, 11% of respondents stated they had pawned their possessions. Moreover, the Royal College of Nursing reported a huge increase of nurses using food banks and working extra hours just to be able to pay the bills.
Recently the pay restraint was debated in parliament with cross party support for NHS staff after the petition I started gained more than 105,000 signatures. The Health Minister MP Phillip Dunne stated that in regards to the pay cap he 'hopes this is something there will be movement on in the future.'
With the NHS bursary scrapped we have seen a 23% drop in applications for nursing this year. Combine this with 40% of nurses heading to retirement, and a national nursing shortage of 24 000, it is clear to see nursing is heading for a 'perfect storm'. Morale is at rock bottom and staff are feeling demoralised.