NURSING STAFF ARE POISED to take part in a ‘summer of action’ in response to the three per cent NHS England pay award, as a poll commissioned by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) finds a majority (51 per cent) of the public think it is too little and 62 per cent say there are too few nurses to provide safe care to patients.

Last week, the UK Government finally announced the award after months of delays. But with inflation, the three per cent award is a real-terms pay cut and leaves experienced nursing staff £200 a year worse off.

The Government then admitted that the money would be found from existing budgets, further angering the nursing profession as this funding will already be committed for patient care.

Nursing staff and their communities will come together to take part in the RCN ‘Summer of Action’ in all four countries of the UK. The events are aimed at encouraging people to get involved in the Fair Pay for Nursing campaign.

Events include a demo in Hove, a candlelit vigil in Norfolk, a virtual rally and a campaign van travelling through Wales. The Summer of Action will culminate with a demonstration in Liverpool ahead of the RCN’s annual national Congress in September.

RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive, Pat Cullen, said: “Today we’ve launched a Summer of Action – a calendar of events across the UK hosted by members to ensure that our colleagues, our patients, the public and politicians know that the campaign won’t stop until nursing is respected and protected.

“We know this award will not be enough to prevent an exodus of exhausted NHS nursing staff and ministers must now be honest about the impact this would have on patient care.

“The government is failing to give the NHS the money it truly needs. This current game of smoke and mirrors is dangerous for patients and nursing staff who care for them. If ministers ignore the voice of nursing, they ignore the voice of patients – and that is something we, as nurses, will never allow.”

The RCN has been campaigning for a fully-funded 12.5 per cent pay rise for all nursing staff covered by the Agenda for Change pay system across the UK.

* An interactive map of events can be seen here.

* Source: Royal College of Nursing