Dismantling pay structure is not the answer to the NHS workforce crisis says RCM

on 12 January 2024

Changing the pay structure for nurses and making it separate from the rest of the health care professionals would further deepen NHS workforce crisis the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has cautioned.

The warning comes as a Government consultation on creating a new pay scale just for nurses has been launched today. The consultation looks at changing the way nurses have their pay banded compared to the rest of the NHS and would do nothing to attract and keep hard pressed midwives and heath care professionals working in the NHS.

The RCM says the NHS Job Evaluation Scheme (JES) underpins the Agenda for Change pay structure (the bands by which healthcare professionals are paid), by changing this the Government will create an equal pay risk and a divisive system, splitting groups of staff who work alongside each other every day.

The current NHS workforce crisis, the RCM says, is largely driven by retention issues of which pay is a key factor. Midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) need urgent and improvements on their pay after years of low pay and below inflation pay awards. Alongside this they need more opportunities for flexible working better opportunities for career progression, all of which this consultation will do nothing to help.

Commenting RCM’s Director of Employment Relations, Alice Sorby says;

 “The Government is clearly deluded if it thinks that separating out one job group is going to help tackle the workforce crisis in the NHS. Never mind a different pay structure, what midwives and the whole of the NHS workforce need is a clear path to tackling the workforce crisis. They need urgent and timely investment in their training, and to be paid the wage they deserve. To take one staff group out of the current NHS pay structure risks seriously damaging the morale of midwives, Maternity Supports Workers (MSWs) and all other NHS staff who do their best every day to provide care to mothers, babies and their families. Teamwork is the foundation which the NHS is built on and years of experience shows us is the best way to deliver safe high-quality care.

“Over the years where RCM members have repeatedly challenged their banding and asked for job descriptions to be updated. Too often this has been met with significant push back which is grossly unfair. Regular meaningful appraisals should include revisiting job descriptions to ensure that they are fit for purpose and allow midwives to be rewarded for their expertise by progressing up the pay scale.”





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The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team.  We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance, and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences, and online resources. For more information visit the RCM | A professional organisation and trade union dedicated to serving the whole midwifery team