The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has announced that its members will hold a summer-long protest following the Prime Minister’s failure to scrap the 1% public sector pay cap in the Queen’s speech today (21 June).
Janet Davies, RCN chief executive and general secretary warned: ‘Theresa May must scrap it before the summer is out.’
‘Theresa May had an opportunity to show that she had listened to public concern over the future of the NHS. By scarcely mentioning its patients and workforce today, the Government made clear that nothing will change,’ Ms Davies continued.
Nursing in Practice has contacted the Department of Health for comment.
Hopes for a ‘new tone’ unmet
Ms Davies continued: ‘Nursing staff and others across the NHS hoped to hear a new tone. Theresa May’s below-inflation cap on their pay does nothing to help fill the 40,000 vacant nurse jobs in England. It should have been scrapped today.
‘Hospitals and community services are already short of the nursing staff needed to provide safe care. They are being driven out by poor pay and the unprecedented strain. Health and care services must fast become a priority for this Government.
‘We will look closely at today’s announcements on mental health and social care but the rhetoric needs to be matched with cash. These promises would have been easier to deliver if thousands of mental health nurses had been able to stay in their jobs in recent years.
‘Next week, the Royal College of Nursing will launch a summer-long protest, calling on the Government to scrap the 1% pay cap. Patients, as well as nurses’ families, pay a heavy price.
‘Nursing staff are at least 3,000 a year worse off than in 2010 – a pay award that is deliberately held below inflation is in fact a pay cut. Theresa May must scrap it before the summer is out.’