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'Nurse goodwill vital as winter pressures hit'


As the pay debate hots up, the temperature is plummeting outside, signalling the impending arrival of winter pressures.

And NHS England is predicting a tough winter for its service - as demonstrated by the money its chief executive Simon Stevens is pushing in that direction.

We’ve all read stories from past winters of nurses trudging through the snow to reach patients cut off by bad weather, or staying overnight in hospitals to ensure adverse conditions don’t get in the way of them looking after their patients.

To get through a winter like the one forecast, the NHS will rely on nurses’ goodwill. Unfortunately, goodwill could be in short supply considering that, as this issue of Nursing Times goes to press, unions are still planning a second day of strike action on Monday.

And pay is now turning out to be an English problem. The workforce in England is demoralised by the government’s refusal to offer a 1% blanket pay rise as advised by the NHS Pay Review Body. While Wales and Scotland found ways to pay nurses more this year than last, NHS England will not reach for its chequebook (see page 5).

Meanwhile, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children Foundation Trust also made a highly criticised pay decision affecting its nurses last week. Its decision to require staff to work an extra shift or lose a day’s annual leave allocation as a result of the trust’s payroll error (page 5) could damage that much-needed goodwill of nurses.

The trust overpaid staff by £82 each on average over the year, and now wants to claw it back. But considering the unpaid overtime most nurses accrue by working through breaks and staying late, surely GOSH could have let its administrative error go? I am all for fairness and transparency, but if it wants to continue providing high-quality care, it will rely on nurses’ good nature. And that decisionmay have eroded that good nature at a time when goodwill is being tested. If I’d been told to work an extra shift to pay for someone else’s mistake I wouldn’t be minded to work through breaks, let alone go the extra mile when bad weather kicks in.

● This week sees the chief nursing o cer for England gather together some of the country’s most senior nursing leaders in Manchester for her annual summit. Jane Cummings and her team have worked with Nursing Times to design a programme to challenge and inspire the profession’s leadership.

Follow the action at and on twitter at #CNOSummit

Jenni Middleton, editor Follow me on Twitter@nursingtimesed


Readers' comments (4)

  • Is 'goodwill' measurable? When did the NHS factor in 'goodwill Nursing' as part of the care delivery package?
    I choose arrive early and help the day/night staff get home on time.
    I choose to work my breaks unpaid as more often than not it will mean no RGN on the floor.
    I choose to remain on duty whilst colleagues struggle to get to work in adverse weather.
    Most Nurses do all of the above and more.
    I've walked 15 miles through North Yorkshire winters to attend work and remained at work until a thaw.

    Take Nurses break times.
    Claw back Nurses pay.
    Let Nurses reap the 'rewards' of others failings and mistakes.
    The 'goodwill' of Nurses is freely given, but please do not take it for free.

    I hope never to see 'goodwill' and a monetary value on a set of NHS trust accounts!

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  • About 10 years ago, when I arrived for an early shift at my then local hospital, I found a mars bar in my pigeon hole. Initially I was pleasantly surprised and asked who had put it there, but found out later that it was a 'present' from the trust given to all nurses and HCA's for their 'hard work.' In the same year, many were denied their incremental raise and the number of higher grades were cut to save money. The top management of the trust received huge salary increases plus bonus payments - rumours of £10,000 - as an incentive to stay.

    I put my mars bar in a used envelope and sent it back to the trust offices with a note that they could stick their 'incentive' for me to stay where the sun does'nt shine. I left within the year.

    The nurses of the busiest country in the UK with more diversity and greater numbers of social depravity, and where homes and the cost of living are far higher, are paid less and not worth as much as nurses Scotland and Wales. Can only summise that we are mugs.

    Cant wait to retire.

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  • good will gesture, how insyulting, there is no goodwill now, we keep beng told we are worthless

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  • A Mars Bar? What a bonus? My pay increase might just cover the cost.
    This is a step forward. Pay Nurses in confectionery. Brilliant.
    I am okay with that, but the bank might question sticky transactions?
    So offensive. Sweeties in the post. What do they think of us?

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