NHS and private employers have been criticised by nurses for failing to provide enough support to nursing staff who are under increasing financial pressure.
Royal College of Nursing members said they required more help due to the absence of a significant pay rise in recent years, the increase in annual registration fees, and the cost of mandatory criminal checks often lying with the employee.
Members at the union’s conference today voted overwhelmingly in favour of lobbying employers to assist with relieving increasing financial burdens on staff.
“Employers should be more vocal in supporting their staff through these tough times”
Rebecca Hoskins, from the RCN South Birmingham branch, who raised the issue, said that while the majority of the nursing profession had eventually been awarded a 1% pay rise this year, the cost of living had been rising for several years beforehand, meaning the pay award would have minimum impact.
She cited other rising costs occurring at the same time, such as higher pension contributions and rising annual registration fees charged by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
“We feel that employers should be more vocal in supporting their staff through these tough times,” said Ms Hoskins.
“We need to campaign to demonstrate the benefits of effective recruitment and retention of staff and the relatively low-cost incentives like payment of professional fees”
RCN’s Nurses in Management and Leadership Forum
She went on to note how some organisations deducted the cost for mandatory criminal checks – by the Disclosure and Barring Service – from employee wages without notifying them.
Ms Hoskins also pointed out other costs nurses were faced with, such as those from car parking charges, and washing uniforms at home to the required standard for infection control.
“Some politicians may say this is the nursing profession and that we should be thankful for our jobs….We are all very thankful for our jobs, but we want to be able to care for our patients and survive economically too,” she said.
Resolution on pay
That this meeting of Congress asks Council to lobby employers to assist relieving the financial burden on nursing staff in light of sub-inflationary pay awards, including payment of professional fees.
Meanwhile, a member from the RCN’s Nurses in Management and Leadership Forum highlighted these same financial issues also affected nurses in the private sector and that their employers should also be lobbied.
“It is a bit of an urban myth that nurses working in the independent sector are earning a lot more money and that’s definitely not the case with colleagues working in care homes, for example,” she said.
She added: “We need to really campaign to demonstrate the benefits of effective recruitment and retention of staff, and the relatively low-cost incentives like payment of professional fees and supporting professional development that would make employers much more attractive.”
VOTING RESULTS ON THE RESOLUTION TO LOBBY EMPLOYERS FOR MORE SUPPORT
- For – 97.29% (467)
- Against – 2.71% (13)
- Abstain – 0% (4)