From 2008 to 2014 nurses real-time earnings fell by 9.6%, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) suggests.
The college analysed Office of National Statistics data from the nine-year period and found that the weekly earnings of the general population working full-time rose by 20%, while in the same period, weekly earnings for NHS nurses and healthcare assistants rose by just 12%.
However once inflation is included, this shows a cumulative real terms drop in earnings of 9.6% since 2008, the RCN said.
In response Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the college said: “Nurses have been telling the government that they are struggling to make ends meet, and are asking themselves if they can afford to continue nursing. Their warnings have repeatedly fallen on deaf ears.
“Now the government can see the impact of years of pay restraint in black and white. The earnings of the people who are looking after us and keeping our health service going have fallen way behind everyone else. Worse, they have fallen way behind inflation.”
She is calling for a higher pay increase announced in the spending review on Wednesday, as another 1% pay increase for the public sector “will not be enough to make up for the loss in earnings nurses have experienced since 2008,” she said.