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Flexibility in return for job security


Nurses will be offered guaranteed job security in return for accepting real terms pay cuts, the government has announced.

Staff will need to accept a pay rise of no more than 1 per cent from 2011 and be flexible about working in different settings and roles if their jobs are to be protected, unions and senior nurses have told Nursing Times.

But nurses are also likely to push back with demands that they receive suitable training and are involved in any decisions about the reconfiguration of nursing roles.

The job guarantee was outlined in the five-year NHS strategy, From good to great: preventative, people-centred and productive, launched by health secretary Andy Burnham last week.

Mr Burnham said the shape of the workforce needed to reflect the need to provide less care in the community and more in hospitals but he did not want that to mean mass redundancies of frontline staff.

He said: “If you are going to have an NHS that’s providing care in the community and the home that does not necessarily mean you need fewer staff.

“We were in a situation a few years ago in the NHS where people had financial pressure and lots of redundancies were announced… I do not think we need to get into that position.”

But Unison senior national officer Mike Jackson said: “Even if people were prepared to take a 0 per cent pay rise that wouldn’t necessarily immunise them from job cuts.

“What’s clear is there’s a need for greater flexibility as people move out from one role to another.”

Shifting from hospital to community roles will also require training and close performance management, he said. This could also mean not all nurses would receive incremental pay rises.

NHS East of England deputy chief nurse Sally Bassett said nurses could potentially “fund their own pay rises” by releasing efficiencies and being redeployed in the community.

She added: “We will need to be flexible and adapt to new ways of working.”

The eight “high impact” cost saving actions announced in October were a good start, she said.


Readers' comments (8)

  • well again the nurses are hit in the teeth, we are such a easy target. the bankers got us in this mess and they get the big bonus well thank you very much. the moral is so low already then this happens. calling all nurses we must stand up and fight. i work in a very busy area and the thought of nurses having to move around scares me. as there is not enough on the ground now to meet the needs of the patients evermind taking nurses away from the frontline.

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  • Lets put a little common sense on the issue, we need to save money so how about the cream at the top of the NHS earners taking a wage cut. General practitioners did very well out of their role changes five years ago, reduced working hours and a 25% increase in wages averaging out at a minimum £90k a year. Let them and the rest of the £100k earners taking a 5% cut in real terms and there you are £30 million in the bank straight away...

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  • Why not agree to revert to a forty hour working week for, say, three years? It would save money in two ways. Obviously, we would all have a 'real terms' wage cut, but it may also help with that odd paradox of being overspent whilst being short of specialist staff thus saving on the agency bill.

    If we were pro-active in suggesting a solution we could put ourselves in a stronger position and counteract some of the orchestrated negative criticism the profession has been getting lately.

    Sorry to post anonymously but we can't bury our heads in the sand.

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  • As a 3rd year student Nurse (at the end of my last placement) I am still shocked at just how easily this profession rolls over and accepts whatever kicking it is given!

    Isn't it about time Nurses said enough is enough and went out on strike?

    For far too long now the government and the trusts have known that Nurses have always been unwilling to compromise patient safety by walking out, but they have used that good will against us time and time again. They cannot be allowed to continue to do this!

    The Nursing profession is already at breaking point! Too little pay for too much work, not enough Nurses on the wards and not enough jobs available to get them there, bad work conditions, stress, is it really worth it?

    If we did go out on strike then the trusts, the government and the public might just realise how essential we are. We may just get the pay and working conditions we deserve.

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  • one proactive way of making a saving is to take away the fat cats (politicians) £24006 allowance and I can guarantee that with the 5% proposal from the above post they would be enough to pay us hard working, easily criticise nurses a wages minus the proposed pay cuts and veiled threats of job losses.

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  • Never has the profession been more adaptable than it is at this present moment in time. It is time the Government had a long and hard look at itself, there are numerous social care staff amongst others that are grossly overpaid in comparison to our responsibilities, workloads and daily demands. We do not have the luxury of secondary housing next to or close to our place of work, we can't afford them. Due to our below inflation pay rises = ongoing pay cuts of the last umpteenth years.We do have long hours of shifts, which our families and social life also pay for. We have to study over and above everything else in order to meet our pay progression only to discover we lose this small seed of comfort.

    I think i'll become an MP, there must be plenty of vacancies as the current mob are incompetent and they don't have to deal with the NMC an organisation whose sole purpose is what exactly.

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  • So are we going to see doctors being told that they have got to be flexible about the areas they work in and take a pay cut? Obviously not because they have trained to work in that specialty only and are seen as an asset. It's time people realised that nurse specialise in just the same way and are just as valuable!
    When the latest news you read is about how nurses are preventing doctors from making serious mistakes isn't it about time nurses were actually valued rather than being repeatedly kicked in the teeth.
    It also saddens me that so many comments are anonymous as it shows that nurses are generally scared to stand up for themselves because of a fear of the consequences!

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  • Once again I wonder why I undertook a degree and masters level training to undertake my job when we are offered this appalling situation. NO, I will not accept these conditions and will be advising my nursing union of this. How dare they suggest this when GP's have such a sweet deal and MP's take the Michael with their own wages and increases. We need to make a stand or we once agin will be walked all over.

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