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12.09.17

Nurses to continue fighting pay cap as policy dropped for police

Medical workers have today vowed to continue fighting against the 1% public sector pay cap as it was revealed the unpopular policy would be lifted for police officers.

A statement from government also said that the pay cap will be lifted for the wider sector from next year.

The Home Office said that the immediate pay rise for police officers strikes a “fair balance for police forces, officers and taxpayers”.

“The tireless work and contribution of police officers in responding to some of the most challenging situations our country has faced for a very long time has been extraordinary,” home secretary Amber Rudd stated.

But workers from across the health sector have immediately hit back by saying they will only stop protesting against the cap once the government confirms it will be lifted for the whole public sector.

Janet Daviest, the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, who has been staging protests against the cap, commented: “This puts another nail in the coffin of the public sector pay cap but it must be scrapped in full. Today’s vague signals are not enough.

“Only when it appears in writing as the formal remit of the pay review body process, will we accept that the cap has gone.”

And Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said there was clearly growing support for public sector workers' message to the government - that the pay cap is unfair, unacceptable and must be lifted.

“Even the prime minister isn’t so sure that it is a good idea anymore,” he stated. “Doctors’ pay has sharply declined, falling by 22% since 2005. 

“Staff morale across the health service has been worsened by year on year real-term cuts to pay through the government’s public sector pay cap.”

Dr Nagpaul also argued that the NHS was struggling to attract and retain doctors, with a recent BMA survey finding that two-thirds of hospital doctors, and almost half of GPs, report vacancies in their departments and practices.

“With the NHS at breaking point investing in the NHS workforce and providing fair terms and conditions must be a priority for this government, otherwise the NHS simply won’t be able to attract and keep the frontline staff needed to deliver safe, high-quality patient care,” he concluded.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of NHS Confederation said that though the workforce was the biggest issue facing the health sector at the moment, lifting the pac cap could have a detrimental effect on the already fragile finances of trusts. 

"While it is clear the ability to restrain pay without impacting on recruitment or retention is now over, and while we agree the public sector pay cap should be lifted, the worst thing the government could do is expect local NHS organisations to pick up the additional costs," he commented.

"It’s vital the Government commits to meeting the costs of doing so with additional NHS funding.

“All the signs are that NHS trusts will certainly struggle this winter. Last year the NHS managed incredibly well but we cannot continue just to rely on a hope that viruses will not wreak havoc, that the weather will be clement and that staff commitment will get us through. Pay rises are key but also additional funding to meet rising demand.”

Top Image: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

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