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Nurses' jobs could be guaranteed in return for less pay


Nurses could be given a guarantee that they will be able to keep their job if they are prepared to be paid less, health secretary Andy Burnham announced today.

They may also need to work in a different NHS organisation or a different place.

Outlining a five-year “vision” for the NHS, Mr Burnham said the Department of Health was going to work with trade unions to explore the possibility of guaranteeing nurses jobs in return for lower pay.

The document, From good to great: preventative, people-centred, productive, emphasised that over the next few years more care will need to be provided in community settings and less treatment should be provided in hospitals.

Mr Burnham said staff may need to change jobs to reflect this change, but said he did not want the recession to mean mass redundancies of frontline NHS staff.

Speaking at the launch of the strategy, Mr Burnham said: “In my view 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.

“I’m very clear that 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.”

The document said the DH would work with NHS Employers and trade unions to “explore the pros and cons of offering frontline staff an employment guarantee locally or regionally in return for flexibility, mobility and sustained pay restraint”.

“This may require tough choices for staff, including working in a different place or in a different organisation.

“It will also require a joint commitment to ensure tight control of the total pay bill.”

Yesterday the chancellor Alistair Darling announced that nurses’ pay rises would be no more than 1 per cent for two years from 2011.



Would you accept lower pay in return for guaranteed job security?

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Readers' comments (23)

  • Can they get on and make a decision then. If it's any less than 18K, I think quitting uni now and going back to call center work will be a better idea. What an absolute joke. I can't believe they are even thinking about this. First stopping the diploma/bursary and now I'm really looking forward to graduating.

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  • Wow, what a way to encourage people to choose nursing as a profession! All other jobs get pay increases so why should nurses get a raw deal?
    As the above reader says, if they push this through, I might be better off quitting uni but I don't want to do that if I can help it!

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  • I quite agree. Nurses remain the most underpaid workforce in the public sector and now having to take a pay cut or potentially lose our jobs really is insult to injury. How's about removing a few thousand of each of the consultants/managers salaries?!
    If I knew then what I know now I would NOT have bothered with nursing. I have never felt more undervalued by my managers, the public or our government.

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  • Despite discouraging news, I have no intention of giving up my studies. Too much time and effort has gone into them.
    I do hope I become a brilliant nurse, work for agencies and earn lots of money.

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  • It's not a problem, I'll book my flight to Canada in time for my registration coming through!

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  • “It will also require a joint commitment to ensure tight control of the total pay bill.”

    if I thought this was a case of true teamwork and integrity from the management it would possibly worth considering but until I hear government and management examples of what they are 'suggesting' I will not tolerate this insult.

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  • Oh yes ! and are consultants entered on the off duty, NO, so who records their sick days ( I know this for real)
    Get rid of all the managers, clinical team leaders, ward managers can still run their wards from 9 to 5, a staff nurse can take over at other times, just like it was before.
    What good are the UNIONS ? will they fight this scandelous and outrageous plan ?

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  • In response to Timothy Lonergan's comments. I have been nursing since 1982 and I cannot remember when nurses went on strike. We has a "go slow", "work to rule", "no overtime", refused to do the what used to be called Nurses Report at the end of a shift. Nurses manned the picket lines, but I never recall nurses going on strike. In fact, whenn I mention this to colleagues, they refuse to do so. They say they cant go on strike because we are nurses! So remind me, when did we last go on strike?

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  • Nurses don't strike but they do leave!
    They go to New Zealand, Australia,Canada, USA , The Far East, the Middle East, Africa...You getting it yet?
    If you want to save money start with the quangos people.....then the so called managers who nobody sees or knows what they actually do...then the Chairpeople who send patronizing leaflets round hospitals that are full of self congratulation...

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  • Isnt this a form of blackmail??It has always been the same over there that the common belief is that nurses would NEVER strike as they are loyal and dedicated!
    Come on UK nurses!
    You can either keep accepting what the government throws at you or you can unite and fight!
    I am from UK and trained there, and emigrated to Australia in 1984, and although our pay is not great, we have a system here that ensures we do get a pay rise every year and reviewed again every 3 years for the next payrise agreement.
    You do have choices in this insult that has been thrown at you
    1. Unite and Fight .
    2.Nurse overseas where you can...lots of options there, plus a huge learning opportunity
    3. Finish your degree and use it towards another degree out of the medical sector, that will benifit you.
    But If you love your job, and most nurses do, then its about time you realised your worth, and take these bullies head on.
    Do I agree with striking? No I dont of course, but it would be done in stages, and would very soon hit the health sectors budget very hard without affecting patient safety.
    Victorian nurses ( Australia ) did strike in / around 1984 with the much needed agreements being a result of it. Public support was immense.
    You are an essential service and worth more than what the government makes you out.
    And to end on this. Those who make these decisions, when they get sick are ussually cared for with 5 star private sector nurses.....because they can afford it or the government pays for them as part of their work aggreement!
    What is the Union doing and suggesting to nurses?
    Be proud of your achievements and the job you do. You are worth MORE than a paycut!!
    Good Luck from Melbourne

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