We are midway through Wimbledon fortnight and the world’s greatest tennis tournament has already showcased some epic struggles for survival.
And nurses are going to have to learn from that tenacity and dig in if they want to repel the latest assault on their pay and conditions.
The details that everyone has been waiting for – or should I say dreading – are finally unveiled. On page 2 we reveal just what plans NHS Employers is proposing for Agenda for Change.
It’s a fact that trusts do need to find a way of operating in these leaner times – but universally NHS staff agree that local pay is not the way to go about it, and it will have consequences for the quality of care as staff are further demotivated and devalued in their work.
Will cash-strapped trusts in areas that are not as expensive to live in really have their bottom line improved by paying so little that they find it hard to attract the right staff? Doesn’t this make healthcare even more of a postcode lottery?
But after the reforms, pension changes, pay freezes and proposed NMC fee hike – do nurses actually have enough fight in them to resist this latest change to their pay and conditions?
I haven’t heard a single nurse agree that local pay will make life more comfortable or fairer – and yet, will they have the energy to articulate those views and make them heard above the cacophony of voices in government and management all speaking up in favour of this overhaul to the pay system?
Changes made now could be damaging for the profession, to those struggling to make ends meet and to those trusts in areas that find it challenging to fill posts.
The health unions’ greatest achievement was arguably negotiating Agenda for Change and ensuring that nurses (and other health professionals) receive equal pay for doing the same job.
Now it’s time to ensure that this achievement is not eroded.
There are too many nurses who are now questioning whether to stay in the profession. Some trusts may not be able to afford their current wage bill, but can they really afford to lose huge numbers of nursing staff who decide that this time enough really is enough?
- Make the most of the positives of the profession, and ensure you celebrate the things worth celebrating in nursing. The Nursing Times Awards are open for entries until 6 July. See ntawards.co.uk for details of how you can enter – for free – and win £1,000 if you are successful. Ensure your work is recognised by entering today.