Government response to Francis and further talk on nurses’ pay
Nurses in the south west were in the headlines, as March got under way. A consortium – dubbed a cartel by unions – of 19 trusts in the region revealed plans to save “millions of pounds” by threatening to leave the Agenda for Change pay framework unless unions and employers made progress with new negotiations to dilute staff pay and conditions.
‘Cartel’ calls for further cuts to nurses’ pay
Pay continued to be the talk of the month and the announcement of a 1% basic pay rise for health workers – well below inflation, but following a two-year freeze – prompted nursing union heads to point out that the “undervaluing” of nurses and other health workers was quickly leading to low morale.
Unions criticise NHS staff 1% pay rise
The Department of Health was clearly not trying to befriend nurses as March progressed. The government unveiled its initial response to the Francis report and the profession found itself criticised by a heavy focus on changes to nurse education. Topping the list of controversial policies was the idea that potential students should in future be required to complete up to a year as an HCA before starting their course.
Francis response: Hunt announces measures targeting HCAs and students
Unsurprisingly, the influx of negative headlines about the profession had the Labour party pointing out where it thought there were flaws in the way the health service was being run. It claimed that nursing numbers were due to drop drastically over the coming years.
NHS could lose 20,000 nurses by 2015, claims Labour
A top ambulance service boss reported that paramedics were being forced to wait with patients in hospital corridors, due to hospital staff and bed shortages. This sparked discussion among the nursing community, some of whom felt this was an attack on nurses.
Paramedics ‘doing jobs of nurses’ because of staff shortages