Nurses and their supporters have come together to contact every MP in the country in an effort to secure a pay rise for all nursing staff.
The campaign, organised by the Royal College of Nurses, is expected to put pressure on the chancellor Rishi Sunak to prioritise pay for nursing staff in the one-year spending review, which will be delivered on Wednesday next week.
This comes as news emerged that the chancellor is considering a pay freeze for millions of public sector workers. It is expected that NHS staff will be exempt from the freeze.
Over 15,000 people have emailed their MP as part of the RCN’s ‘Fair Pay for Nursing’ campaign to show support for nursing staff in their area.
RCN chief executive and general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: ‘There isn’t an MP across the UK who can say they haven’t heard of our aim. The sheer numbers of people who have written, asking for politicians’ support, shows the high esteem in which the public holds nursing staff.’
She continued: ‘Even though nursing staff have tackled a global pandemic with 50,000 nursing vacancies in the NHS across the UK, the Government continues to undervalue them.’
Prime minister Boris Johnson, who represents Uxbridge and South Ruislip, has been contacted by at least 46 constituents. The MP for Falkirk, John McNally, has received the most emails from RCN members, totalling over 127.
The ‘Fair Pay for Nursing’ campaign was launched in August to secure a 12.5% pay increase for all nurses across all pay bands.
It began in response to nurses not being included in the above inflation rise in public sector wages announced in the summer, despite the extra work they were undertaking during the coronavirus pandemic. NHS nurses’ pay is determined every three years as part of Agenda for Change, and the current deal runs to April next year.
Meanwhile, The Royal College of Midwives also stepped up its campaign for higher pay rates for its members with the ‘Deliver a Decent Deal’ campaign this week. The RCM wants to secure an early and significant pay rise for all its members.
Nurses and midwives on Twitter have risen quickly to support both campaigns. Professor Christie Watson, nurse and author of ‘The Courage to Care’, a book on the work of nurses, said on Twitter today,: ‘Nurses earn significantly less now in real terms than in 2020. A third are now considering leaving. We need nurses more than ever. Please write your MP to support 12.5% pay rise for nurses.’
The RCN has stated that the ‘Fair pay for Nursing’ campaign is about more than just their response to Covid-19 and about recognising nursing for the highly-skilled profession it is.
Dame Kinnair at the RCN added: ‘We are not asking for a Covid-19 bonus – paying nursing fairly is a political choice. The chancellor must make the right decision.’