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HomeHealth NewsWhat is the controversy over the nurses' strike?

What is the controversy over the nurses’ strike?

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union nurses has voted to go on strike.

It would be the first nationwide strike in the union’s 106-year existence.

More than half of hospitals and community teams will be affected by the strike, but emergency treatment will be protected.

What was the outcome and what is the next step?
The ballot for the strike was distributed to 300,000 RCN members or roughly two-thirds of the nursing workforce.

What is the controversy over the nurses' strike?
What is the controversy over the nurses' strike?

However, instead of a single national vote, local services staged a series of mini-votes. This could be a hospital or community service, but not a GP practice.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland, nurses from all services voted for action. In Wales, every health board except one did.

In England, however, participation was insufficient in nearly half of NHS trusts for strike action to proceed. At least fifty percent of union members must participate in a strike vote for it to be valid.

In the areas that voted affirmatively, a decision will be made regarding the timing and kind of strike action.

However, it is anticipated that the first walkout would occur before the holiday season.

Steve Barclay, England’s Health Secretary, expressed “sad disappointment” over the outcome of the referendum.

Strike
What is the controversy over the nurses' strike?

Matthew Taylor, the chief executive officer of the NHS Confederation, which represents health administrators, asked the government and RCN to find an alternative option.

What impact will the nurses’ strike have on patients?

The English government asked nurses to consider the impact on the general public.

Pat Cullen, general secretary of the RCN, stated that its members would continue to offer urgent and emergency care during any walkout.

All nursing personnel would be required to work in intensive care services.

Other services, such as cancer therapy and emergency testing, may have a reduced staffing level.

Details will be carefully negotiated between local service managers and union representatives.

It is also feasible that, if there are safety issues during a strike, nurses could be forced to return to work.

This occurred during the 2019 walkout by RCN members in Northern Ireland, the only other occasion the union has engaged in strike action.

It is anticipated that routine services, such as knee and hip replacements, community nursing services, and health visits, will be severely impacted.

What is the argument between the nurses?

Pay. The RCN is requesting a wage increase of 5% over the RPI inflation rate, which already exceeds 12%, but no nation in the United Kingdom has offered anything close.

In England and Wales, NHS employees, including nurses, have received an average raise of 4.75 percent. The lowest-paid employees have assured an increase of at least $1,400.

In Scotland, the initial offer for NHS employees was 5%, but this has since been adjusted to a fixed rate of just over £2,200, which equates to just over 8% for a freshly certified nurse.

In Northern Ireland, nurses have not yet received a salary raise due to the absence of a functioning government.

During the voting process, the RCN contended that this year’s below-inflation pay award was the result of years of salary cuts for nurses.

Inflation-adjusted, the union reports that the average income for nurses declined by 6% between 2011 and 2021, compared to a 4.6% decline for the entire UK workforce.

This, according to the RCN, compromises care since the NHS struggles to recruit and retain nurses.

However, the English government noted that this year’s award is what the independent NHS Pay Review Body suggested.

In acknowledgment of their efforts during the pandemic, NHS employees received a 3% salary increase last year, while the rest of the public sector remained frozen.

What salary do nurses receive?

In England, a nurse’s starting wage is a little over £27,000 per year. This is the bottom of pay band five under the Agenda for Change contract for the NHS.

Personnel such as healthcare assistants, porters, and cleaners are paid less.

The contract stipulates that employees are entitled to compensation increases within their pay band.

A registered nurse with four years of experience would likely earn close to £33,000, the upper limit of pay band five.

Specialist nurses, such as those with additional qualifications to treat patients with cancer and diabetes, can make up to £47,000, while the most senior nurse consultants can earn up to over £55,000.

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