25 hour shifts, parking fines at hospitals, dealing with violent drug abusers, bereavement and all the while barely being able to pay rent. These are just some of the issues nurses are currently facing amidst shortages both in staff and funds in the NHS. Unions representing nurses and other NHS have since decided that enough is enough, and written to the chancellor asking for a 3.9% pay rise. This request surfaced after NHS workers said that it’s unfair and unjust that nurses were not given an increase in pay despite the government agreeing to end the freeze on public sector pay.
Nurses all over the UK have been protesting in recent weeks against the pay cap outside of Westminster, expressing their anger at lack of just treatment and pay, with an average of a 14% pay cut in the last seven years. According to the guardian, the RCN President, Cecilia Anim, addressed the rally in Parliament Square, saying: “For far too long our hard work, our skill, our dedication has been taken for granted by this government … for too long the lives of our friends and colleagues have been blighted. And why? Because our pay has been cut.”
Since no progress has been made on the issue, nurses are now being forced to consider striking, which at a time when flu is rife over the winter months, would be devastating for the entire population. The Sun recently spoke to Josie Irwin, Head of Employment Relations at the Royal College of Nursing who said: “The Government must not play with fire - if the pay cap is not genuinely lifted by November’s Budget, we could see industrial action in the NHS this winter”.
Although strikes like these could result in many lives being lost, and on one hand it’s easy to argue that nurses are putting their pay concerns above the health of our nation, how can we continue to so poorly pay our nurses when our lives are in their hands? The BBC spoke to nurses about why they deserve a pay rise, with many saying that they are undervalued, exhausted, and living a hand to mouth existence, something that is appalling considering the dedication most nurses commit to their role. This issue is certainly one that won’t be silenced any time soon.
What do you think of the pay rise debate? Let us know your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If you’re an NHS nurse fed up with bad pay and overtime, drop an email to Claire@primoassociates.com since we have an abundance of well paid roles in private healthcare, all coming with a whopping £2,000 golden hello. You can also peruse our current vacancies here or have a chat with us on 0141 212 5130.