Nurses’ pay rise will not not solve recruitment crisis

The Government’s decision to
give nurses an inflation-busting pay rise has been welcomed by the Association
of Healthcare Human Resource Management.

Alan Milburn, the Secretary of
State for Health, announced that nurses, midwives and health visitors will get
an across-the-board pay rise of 3.6 per cent from April 2002.

Sally Storey, immediate past
president of AHHRM, said the pay deal made sense considering the staffing
problems faced by the NHS.

 "It is what we asked for. The overall view within the NHS is
that it is struggling to recruit and retain staff. We wanted an increase that
was modestly ahead of inflation that would give the correct signals to existing
staff and those that we want to recruit into the service," she said.

But Storey stressed that better
pay alone will not help the NHS attract and keep nursing staff.

She added, "We must strike
the right balance. Pay is not the only answer to retaining staff, in fact, when
recruiting and in exit interviews, pay is often fairly way down the list.
Flexibility and control over working life are the reasons why staff stay."

As a result of the pay deal, a
newly qualified nurse’s pay packet will rise from £15,445 to £16,005 a year
outside London and from £19,178 to £19,873 a year in London.

Millburn said, "These pay
awards are well ahead of inflation and are richly deserved. NHS staff do a
great job for patients and these increases in pay are needed to get more staff
working and to keep them working in the NHS.

"Each year we have
targeted extra pay to improve both recruitment and retention of these important

The Royal College of Nursing
and Unison complained that the pay increase still leaves their members pay
behind other public sector employees.  

By Paul Nelson

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