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RCN: Government has 'one last chance' to scrap nursing pay cap

The Government has 'one last chance' to scrap the 1% pay cap for nurses, the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) has warned.

Prime Minister Theresa May received permission from the Queen this afternoon (9 June) to form a government after striking a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) following the Conservative Party's failure to secure an overall majority.

Janet Davies, RCN chief executive and general secretary, cautioned the new Government against focusing too much on Brexit negotiations to the detriment of the NHS.

'More than Brexit to resolve'

Ms Davies said: 'Later this month, the RCN will launch a summer-long protest, calling on the Government to scrap the 1% pay cap. It is simple: a pay rise that is deliberately held below inflation is in fact a pay cut. The cap, after years of pay freezes, means that nursing staff are 14% and at least 3,000 a year worse off than they were in 2010. This summer, the Government has one last chance to scrap the cap'

'She added: 'No matter which Government is formed, it has more than Brexit to resolve in the months and years to come.

'The next Prime Minister must not become consumed by those negotiations to the detriment of patients and the people who care for them. In the time it takes to negotiate Britain's exit, the NHS will fall further into disrepair unless the Government begins to listen.

'Health and care services must be a greater priority for this Government than they were for the last. They must be funded to a higher level and we must see action on election promises, especially around mental health and the right to remain for health and care workers from across the EU.

Short staffed

Ms Davies continued: 'Hospitals, clinics and communities across the country are short of the nursing staff they need to provide safe care. They are being driven out of the NHS by levels of pay that are as damaging to patient care standards as they are to a nurse's family life.

'The Government's pay cap does nothing to help fill the 40,000 vacant nurse jobs in England alone.'