A nursing union has threatened that further strikes are ‘more likely’ after doctors were offered a larger pay increase to bring an end to their dispute.
The Royal College of Nursing said it was “galling” that its pay dispute with the government remains unresolved nearly 12 months after nurses decided to strike, while consultants have been offered a new deal that will cost the Treasury hundreds of millions of pounds.
Yesterday the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) revealed they had come to an agreement with the government, and the deal would now be put to their members.
The proposed package includes an additional 4.95%, on top of the 6% annual pay rise they received this year, as well as changes to their pay scale resulting in fewer points at which their pay increases. The BMA said this would mean a typical consultant would reach the top of the pay scale five years sooner than under the current structure.
RCN chief nurse, Professor Nicola Ranger, said nurses would be appalled by where the announcement leaves them.
Nurses threaten strikes
“The government has shown it has the political will to reform pay for some of the highest earners in the NHS – while our members are left with the lowest pay rise in the public sector,” she said.
“Nursing staff work closely with consultants, and we too have campaigned for years to have quicker progression through the pay scale. This would help recognise nurses’ safety-critical and lifesaving skills, and yet many spend most of their career stuck on the same NHS pay band.
“It’s galling that almost 12 months since nursing staff took the unprecedented decision to strike, our pay dispute remains unresolved, and the government continues to undervalue our profession.
“Today’s news will ignite our members’ fury further, making nursing strikes more likely in the future.”
The RCN was one of only two unions to reject the government’s NHS pay deal in England earlier this year, but the pay offer was imposed after it was accepted by the NHS Staff Council. A subsequent RCN strike ballot failed to reach the 50% threshold required.
Nursing unions have accepted pay agreements in Scotland and Wales.