Nurses have taken the exceptionally difficult decision to take strike action, doing so for the first time in history in December 2022.
As the government has failed to take action, nurses have been given no choice but to escalate their strike action.
I joined members of the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) on picket lines at Norwich Community Hospital, and Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital (NNUH), to show my full support for them.
Nurses are undervalued, and nursing is critically understaffed. Over the past decade the real-terms salary of an experienced nurse has fallen by 20% in a decade. As of December 2022, there were nearly 50,000 nursing vacancies in the NHS.
If this Government fails to improve the pay and conditions offered to nurses, then nurses are being presented with an untenable future in the NHS. And without nurses, we will not have an NHS.
The RCN’s Fair Pay for Nursing campaign is calling for:
- recognising that salaries of nursing professionals has consistently fallen below inflation – a fact which is being exacerbated by the cost of living crisis – and must now rise significantly to reflect that.
- valuing the training, qualifications, skills, responsibilities and experience demonstrated every day by nursing staff.
- ensuring that nursing is seen as an attractive, rewarding profession to tackle the tens of thousands of unfilled nursing posts.
- the campaign aims to secure a pay increase that is 5% above inflation (measured by RPI).