A majority of survey respondents believe nurses are paid too little and the UK can afford to increase nurses pay, despite government claims to the contrary.
Nursing pay has been capped at 1% pay increases for a further four years, however the public advocated pay rises, and only 13% thought nurses current salaries reflect the level of skills necessary for the job.
The survey from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) of more than 2,000 British adults also found that three quarters (76%) believe that nurses are paid too little and more than two in five (46%) would be willing to pay extra in income tax to go directly towards nurses’ salaries.
Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN said: “Nursing staff are increasingly demoralized… Restraining pay while demanding increases is a false economy, making it harder for the NHS to hold on to the staff it needs and increasing the expensive reliance on temporary staff.
“Nursing staff will be pleased and touched by the public’s overwhelming support and confidence in them, and their vital work. They would be equally pleased to see the Government share the public’s gratitude and appreciation by re-thinking their stance on nursing pay. A 1% cap is not the way to show loyal and dedicated nursing staff that they are valued and it needs to be rethought,” she added.
In light of the government’s spending review next week, when departmental spending plans will be announced, Davies warned that the consequences “of any continued government short-sightedness on pay” would be “serious” for both nurses and patients.