Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith has backed the growing campaign for the Government to scrap the 1 per cent cap on public sector pay in the upcoming Budget.
Jeff met with frontline nurses as part of the Royal College of Nursing’s lobby of Parliament. He heard how low pay has a detrimental impact on morale, the ability to recruit and retain nurses, and patient safety. The nursing regulator recently revealed that the profession is shrinking, with more nurses leaving the profession than joining it and 40,000 nursing vacancies in England alone. Separate RCN analysis shows that nurses with more than 10 years’ experience are leaving the NHS at twice the rate they were three years ago.
New academic research shows that when the number of registered nurses on a shift falls, care is left undone and patient mortality levels increase.
Jeff said: “South Manchester is home to almost 500 nurses who have seen their pay cut in real terms by 14% since 2010, leaving their pay packets £3,000 worse off each year. This can’t continue if we are to keep the nurses we have, attract new recruits and ensure nursing staff can earn a decent wage.
“Understaffing in our hospitals and communities is affecting the safety of patients. It’s time for the Government to show their commitment to valuing and supporting nurses – the Chancellor’s autumn budget is an unmissable opportunity to scrap the public sector pay cap.”
Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said:
“This summer, nurses have shown the Government that they have had enough of poor pay. They are struggling to keep up with the cost of living and there are reports it pays better to work in supermarkets than care for the most vulnerable.
“It’s a false economy to keep nurses pay down, short staffing is threating the safety of our patients. That’s why we welcome the support of MPs who are championing nursing and share our belief that the 1% pay cap should be scrapped.
“Nurses will not tolerate having their pay squeezed any further. The Government must put party politics aside and lift the cap.”