RNs - England

Blair stands defiant in nurses' pay row

InTheNews.co.uk, April 18, 2007 The prime minister has remained defiant in the face of potential strike action from nurses angry with their pay-deal proposal. Earlier this week nurses attending the Royal College of Nursing's (RCN) annual congress voted overwhelmingly in favour of investigating whether strike action may be appropriate. In March the chancellor Gordon Brown announced that nurses will receive a staged 2.5 per cent pay rise. But with the consumer price measure of inflation (CPI) at 2.7 per cent and the retail price measure of inflation (RPI) at four per cent, unions have said the deal is, in real terms, a pay cut. ... Blair

Campbell criticises Brown on nurses

Martha Moss, ePolitix.com, April 18, 2007 Sir Menzies Campbell has condemned the government after the Royal College of Nursing voted to strike over the decision to stage planned pay increases. Speaking in the Commons, the Liberal Democrat leader questioned why the nurses did not get all of their pay awards up front. Tony Blair said it was "important" to stage the awards to ensure "that we deal with the issues overall of pay within the economy". But he claimed there would  be an increase of over four per cent for nurses, arguing that there had been "a huge, real-terms increase in the pay for nurses" over the past 10 years. "There's also, incidentally, been an 85,000 increase in the numbers of nurses," he added. ... Campbell

Nurses threaten action over pay award

Independent, April 18, 2007 Nurses' leaders have threatened to ballot their members on industrial action unless ministers reverse their decision to award nurses a below-inflation pay deal. Dr Peter Carter, the general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said the union's council would be seeking an emergency meeting with Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, and Patricia Hewitt, the Secretary of State for Health, following angry scenes yesterday at the RCN's annual conference in Harrogate. The RCN's members called the pay award "insulting". Nurses also voted overwhelmingly, by 97 per cent, in favour of calling on the union's council to investigate what forms of industrial action could be taken. ... Nurses

Nurses back industrial action over pay

RCN conference sees 95% vote for protest motion. Anger as Gordon Brown accused of betrayal. John Carvel, Guardian, April 18, 2007 The Royal College of Nursing voted overwhelmingly yesterday to take industrial action over pay throughout the NHS if the government does not back down within a month to rescind a decision to postpone part of this year's award. Delegates at the union's annual conference in Harrogate voted by a 95% majority for the first nationwide action since it was founded in 1916. The general secretary, Peter Carter, said he would seek an urgent meeting with the chancellor, Gordon Brown, and the health secretary, Patricia Hewitt, in a last ditch attempt to avoid disruption of the NHS. ... Nurses

Nurses seek to strike a balance in pay dispute

John Carvel, Guardian, April 17, 2007 The strength of nurses' anger was never in doubt as they gathered for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) annual conference in Harrogate this week. An independent pay review body said they should get a 2.5% pay increase this month. The government decided to give them only 1.5%, with another 1% to follow in November. The postponement will cost nurses about £60m this year, but it has also lost the government the last shreds of gratitude in the profession for the extra billions ploughed into the NHS over the past five years. The problem for a nursing union is that it is extremely difficult to convert this anger into industrial action. And today's vote will not solve that problem. ... Nurses

Nurses to be axed in cuts

This is Nottingham, April 17, 2007 Nursing and midwifery jobs will be cut in a £20.5m hospital cash-saving plan announced today. Nottingham University Hospitals, which runs the Queen's Medical Centre and City Hospital, has confirmed that up to 500 posts are to go over the coming year. They are part of 1,200 posts to be cut, as announced last year. A total of £2.2m will be saved in a review of nurses' and midwives' jobs. And cash will also be saved by sending patients home sooner, and buying in cheaper goods. Hospital bosses stressed that redundancies would be kept to a minimum. ... Nurses

Nurses to vote on first national strike action over withheld pay

John Carvel, Guardian, April 16, 2007 The Royal College of Nursing was last night heading for the first national industrial action in its 91-year history in protest at the government's decision to hold back part of the pay increase nurses were due this month. The union's annual congress, which opens today in Harrogate, will vote tomorrow on an emergency resolution for action to force ministers to pay the full 2.5% recommended by an independent pay review body. Peter Carter, the recently appointed general secretary, said delegates were "angry, despondent and worried". They did not want to strike, but they could not accept the injustice of the government's decision. ... Nurses

NHS care 'left to student nurses'

Nick Triggle, BBC News, April 16, 2007 Lives are being put at risk because student nurses are being left on their own with patients, a study has claimed. A poll by the Royal College of Nursing of 1,500 student nurses found nearly half had been left unattended with patients without warning. Guidelines say student nurses should always be monitored except those in their final year and even that has to be prearranged. The government said patient safety was of "paramount importance". The survey showed 44% of student nurses had been left unattended without warning and without a doctor or qualified nurse present. ... NHS

Nurses to debate strike over pay

Press Association, April 15, 2007 Nurses will debate strike action in the row over pay, the head of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has said. On the eve of the RCN's annual conference, Dr Peter Carter said nurses felt "angry", "despondent" and "worried" about their own futures and the future of the NHS. And while he said it was clear parts of the NHS had improved under Labour, he said taxpayers' money had "been wasted" on "overpaid" management consultants and turnaround teams for failing trusts. The £22 million spent on turnaround teams between January 2006 and March 2007 was "shameful", he added. Dr Carter urged the Government to "get real" over nurses pay, which they have described as a "slap in the face". ... Nurses

Nurses' union launches attack on 'uncosted' NHS reforms

Ian Griggs, Independent, April 15, 2007 More than 22,000 jobs have been lost in the NHS in the past 18 months, said the Royal College of Nursing. The RCN said it hoped to expose the myth that the NHS funding crisis had been solved as it prepared for its annual conference in Harrogate today. In a report called Our NHS: Today and Tomorrow, the union said three-quarters of newly qualified nurses were unable to find jobs. It also condemned "rushed, uncosted and untested" government reforms and outlined how NHS cuts had affected patient services, including for those with mental health problems. The financial crisis had hit waiting times, it added, particularly for diagnostic tests, and had led to the closure of community hospitals in rural areas. ... Nurses

Town where teachers and nurses can only rent ...

Cahal Milmo, Independent, April 14, 2007 David Adams gave up looking seriously in the windows of the estate agents in Gerrards Cross high street a long time ago. Now he does it more as an exercise in dark humour. Very dark humour. The 30-year-old care assistant was to be found yesterday perusing the homes on offer in one window: "a modest three-bedroom detached house'' - £1.3m; "three-bed semi in need of redecoration'' - £400,000. "I earn just over £23,000 a year and standing here it feels like I'm in some kind of twisted joke," said Mr Adams. "I do a useful job, one that people here could not do without. But if I wanted to live here, well, I'd have to go and rob a bank.'' ... Town

Obese patients 'increasing back pain among nurses'

Karl Mansfield, Independent, April 2, 2007 A rise in the number of obese patients on wards could be causing thousands of NHS nurses to seek treatment for back pain, according to experts. About 5,000 nurses are currently being treated for back pain following a surge in patients' weights and the number of patients a nurse has to care for, according to the British Chiropractic Association. Dr Matthew Bennett, a member of the BCA who has been a chiropractor for 20 years, said: "There are thousands of nurses with work-related back pain and I think this could increase in the future. ..." Obese

Nurses in talks over pay strike

Mike Edwards, Sunday Mirror, March 18, 2007 Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt has called leaders of Britain's 600,000 nurses to emergency talks this week in a bid to stave off a growing strike threat. The Government has angered nurses by staggering a 2.5 per cent pay rise so it works out at just 1.9 per cent in real terms. Their leaders are even more furious at a Labour Party letter asking MPs to tell nurses that the rise actually amounts to 4.9 per cent due to pay reforms and "opportunities for career progression". Josie Irwin, head of employment relations at the Royal College of Nursing, said: "It is dodgy maths in the extreme." ... Nurses

Pay us now, say English nurses, as Scotland grants staged rise in full

Chancellor's ruling defied by Holyrood ministers. Move seen as Labour ploy to avert May poll disaster. Severin Carrell, Guardian, March 14, 2007 Union leaders have appealed for nurses in England to be given their annual pay rise immediately, after it emerged that nurses in Scotland are to receive theirs in full next month. Ministers in the Scottish executive have unexpectedly defied a decision by the chancellor last week to stagger this year's pay deal for health workers across the UK in two stages, and will increase salaries in Scotland by 2.5% from April 1. The decision was apparently taken by ministers in Edinburgh without consulting Gordon Brown, but greatly increased pressure on the Treasury and the Department of Health to follow suit for England and Wales - rejected last week on cost grounds. ... Pay

Wage Rage

Storm at 'slap-in-the-face' 1.9% pay rise for nurses. Oonagh Blackman, Mirror, March 2, 2007 Thousands of nurses and other public sector workers were furious last night after being given a pitiful 1.9 per cent pay rise. Nurses described the below inflation increase as a "slap in the face". Unions warned of industrial action and predicted key NHS workers could quit in disgust. Amicus said: "The mood of our members may lead to an industrial action ballot." Despite inflation running at a true figure of 4.2 per cent the pay increase is the lowest for 10 years. ... Wage

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