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Nurses' jobs are safe - their pay is not


Beyond the Bedpan is struggling to see the logic in the government’s decision to restrict nurses’ earning power

You win some you lose some. Or, in nurses’ case, you lose some and get a massive kick in the teeth for your troubles.

Nurses are understandably peeved at the government’s latest round of economic home truths. In short, the country needs to save money, and the NHS is where a lot of that money will be saved.

This means a measly 1% limit on nurses’ pay rises and a cap on state pension contributions.

But perhaps the most galling news is Andy Burnham’s announcement that nurses’ jobs will be secure - provided they are willing to be paid less. Economic recovery, he said, “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.”

So your job is safe, but you might have to do something different, somewhere else, for less money. Anyone else smell a rat?

And what Beyond the Bedpan really want to know is, why nurses? Is there not some other area of the public sector that can take the flak? Say, for example, bankers?

Banks are not strictly public sector, but since they have been repeatedly bailed out by taxpayers, it’s fair game.

Beyond the Bedpan would like to personally reassure the champagne-quaffing, stripper-ogling merchants that their jobs are safe, although from now on they will be paid £4.52 an hour to collect and clean discarded crack needles before redistributing them into the community. A job’s a job, right?

Will low wages damage the profession? Are nurses getting a raw deal from the government? Tell us what you think in the comments section below


Who's wages should be cut to help the government balance the books?

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Readers' comments (91)

  • Low pay will obviously have a detrimental effects to the nurses morale thereby affecting the care that the patient gets. NHS presently are suffering from low number of nurses on the floor and then the government will curve the nurses salary or even remove more frontliners staff. I cant imagine what will be the future of our NHS but there we are, we have to bear the consequences of the decisions our health secretaries and directors made and will be made.

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  • I disagree that we have to bear the consequences. These things are always a struggle. Nurses have sucessfully fought and won low pay battles in the past. This may have been few and far between but throwing in the towel at the announcement of the pay freeze offers no hope of an alternative.
    NT is right - bankers should be made to pay. They are still taking huge bonuses on top of wages that are obscene. No doubt they and their friends intervened to affet the government decision as to who should foot the bill for their mess - NHS workers need to do the same and make sure it is those with the money.

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  • I did 3 yrs training at degree level to become what I thought would lead me into a good professional job - 3 yrs into being a qualfied nurse I will be looking to leave the NHS and go into theprivate sector - absolutely disgusted and disillusioned with the government decision to yet again penalise frontline staff. Penalise your fat cat bankers and make them pay back their unearned bonus'

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  • If the Government want nurses to work for less then i dont see why we should be doing the jobs we're currently doing for less money which would put more pressure on doctors or those daft enough to accept lower pay for more skilled work! the oncology/haematology ward i work in is already understaffed and underskilled which is impacting on the care the patients receive and is often pretty dangerous. If the government think sponging us off with ensuring job security for less money they should come take over the nurse's job themselves, they wouldnt last the pace!!!

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  • Truth be told, Government fatcats probably think we all complain for nothing. Afterall, what is it that happens when a hospital hears an MP or some real important gov. bod will be visiting? Every nook and crany is cleaned untill it sparkles and all clutter removed. The 'show wards' are picked for their quieter, healthier and fittest patients who are also scrubbed and polished. The whole ward is made immaculate and offduty altered to ensure a full compliment of the most senior staff, dressed in their best uniforms and widest smiles.

    Doesn't this really cover up what we usually have going on: phones that no-one has time to answer, call buzzers going off in all corners of the ward, commodes needed by 3 different people and one of the ones you have is caught up in a MRSA sideroom, doctors wanting escorting on a wardround and Mr X waiting impatiently by the desk to talk about his wife - been waiting for 20 minutes and is ready to blow his top as his parking ticket is about to expire. Three dressings are waiting to be done (and that leg ulcer smells like it too), drains to be removed, people freshly back from theatre needing attention and feeling sick.... Yes we all know I could go on a bit more. I haven't even got to the sorting out discharge packages and social work referrals yet. But all this is alarmingly missing from those lovely little shots you see on TV of 'Today, Prince Charles visited a hospital in...' or 'Patients of Sparkle Hospital in Perfectsville were treated to a visit from the Prime Minister today...'

    With such a calm atmosphere, everything under control and all of us so happy, do we look like we have anything to complain about?

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  • It is a pity that the NHS Supremos that drain so much of the NHS budget are not treated in the same offhand manner as the front line staff providing the care..

    It is obscene that such a fiscal disparity has been allowed to develop whereby non medical, non registered, non qualified drones receive more than those with the attitude, skills and talents which enable them to give care.

    The NHS is not an Institution, Limited Company, or Factory designed and run with the sole intention of making money. Neither is it a training ground or stepping stone for Accountants, Public Relations Experts, Spin Doctors and IT Experts.

    Its function, put in its simplest form, is to provide treatment and care to the sick and infirm and their families in their time of need irrespective of the financial status of those needing treatment.

    To meet the needs of the patient the system needs more Doctors and Nurses, to attract these people there needs to be better pay structures for those giving treatment and care, not a top heavy edifice of overpaid incompetent amateur politicians and failed businessmen.

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  • So last month the Government with the lap dog style support of the NMC announce that nursing is important and complex enough to warrant degree only training. this month nursing is not important or complex enough to pay us for it. So if I understand it right The NMC and the government want nurses to train more work more but get paid less.

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  • SO we will soon be seeing nurses coming out of uni with debts incurred - and even less chance of paying therm back?

    What will happen to the pay of other hard up public workers - MPs for instance????

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  • 4th year at uni doing nurse training. I'd earn more being a bus driver.

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  • Andy Burnham's taking a pay cut too right? along with all the other governmental ministers, civil servants, doctors, teachers, police etc. etc. because if they're not nor am I. Nurse's are an easy target for silly knee jerk comments like that one - I hope the unions are actually telling Mr. Burnham, Can you hear/imagine the rage of the teachers, civil servants, medics etc. if it were suggested to them. Forget it!

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