NHS pay deal consultation: vast majority of RCN members who voted say 3% is unacceptable

Eligible RCN members in Wales and England have voted in a consultative ballot on the 3% pay award for NHS Agenda for Change staff.

Commenting on the result of the ballot, Helen Whyley, RCN Wales Director, said: “94% of our members who voted said that a 3% pay award is unacceptable. This shows the strength of feeling among our NHS members who are bitterly disappointed with the 3% pay award. Nurses have not had a decent pay award for the last decade. This comes when inflation is above 3% and national insurance contributions are rising which effectively negates this pay award.”

Of those eligible to take part in the consultation in Wales, 29% turned out to vote. In England, 92% of those who voted said they think the pay award is unacceptable, with a turnout of 25%.

Your elected representatives on the RCN’s Trade Union Committee will now carefully consider the results and decide on next steps. They will be seeking the views of the RCN Wales Board and the RCN English regional boards. A range of options could be progressed, with the results and level of turnout being considered. Members will be the first to know when decisions are made.

Check your details are up to date on MyRCN so you don’t miss out on future consultations about your pay and the fight for fair pay.

Pay, Terms and Conditions

The leadership and professionalism shown by nursing staff, and all health and social care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, is testament to their commitment to patient safety. Nursing staff deserve to be recognised for the complexity of skill, responsibility and expertise they demonstrate every day. The nursing profession has been at the forefront of the response to the pandemic, leading on innovation, working long hours in stressful conditions and improving the quality of treatment and care. However, this level of commitment is not new for nursing. Nurses and nursing staff have always strived to deliver high quality patient care in all settings at all times. COVID-19 has simply highlighted this to the public in a new way.

Did you know?

There are over 1600 vacant registered nurse posts in the NHS Wales.
Imagine the care that these missing nurses could deliver!

Did you know?

Every week nurses in Wales give the NHS extra hours to the value of 976 full-time nurses.
Pressurising nurses to work longer hours contributes to stress and sickness.

The Welsh Government needs to take action to ensure that working in the NHS is a viable option for nurses. Currently, more nurses leave the NHS than join. Many nurses have caring responsibilities for both young children and older parents and would prefer to work for an employer where they have control over their working hours.


ACTION: Ensure a national nursing retention strategy for the NHS with increased access to flexible working as one of the policy drivers.

Continued Professional Development

Professional development and learning is a fundamental career-long requirement for every nurse. It is a requirement for successful revalidation by the Nursing and Midwifery Council and essential for patient safety and clinical effectiveness. Yet, because of the difficulty of backfilling nurses on the team, some employers have stopped all access to continuous professional development (CPD) for nurses. This means that keeping up to date (e.g. with new mental capacity legislation) and learning new skills (e.g. in looking after vulnerable patients with dementia) becomes something that nurses have to struggle to do in their own time and at their own cost. In contrast, doctors have access to CPD as part of their contracts.

In the 2019 RCN employment survey, across the UK just 54% of all nursing staff said they had completed their last mandatory training in normal working hours, but in Wales this fell further to a disturbing 29%.

ACTION – Ensure CPD uptake for nurses and nursing staff is improved.

Find out more about the Fair Pay for Nursing campaign and how you can get involved

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