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On employment: End NHS pay restraint now

4 September, 2017

On employment: End NHS pay restraint now

         

Fair pay in the NHS is overdue.

We are calling on the government to end the policy of pay restraint in the NHS and ensure that funds are available for employers to pay a real-terms increase.  

We are currently writing our evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) as part of its formal evidence-gathering process. Our evidence starts with an overview of the economic and political context, and we provide the review body with analysis of finances, such as our oft-quoted figure that the pay of an average midwife has dropped by over £6000 since 2010. 

We conduct an annual survey of HoMs that gives us information about staffing shortages, recruitment and retention, and how this impacts on service delivery.

We also conduct a survey of RCM members; last year we conducted a survey of midwives who have left or are intending to leave the profession, and this year we conducted a survey of how pay restraint has been affecting you. 

You might wonder why we ask you for information that we already know– it is because we are trying our hardest to present the fullest evidence to get you a pay rise. 

The RCM is committed to UK-wide pay structures and the NHSPRB because we believe it is the fairest process of determining pay in the NHS. It is our view that UK-wide pay structures with uplifts determined by an independent pay review body are the best system for midwives and MSWs. 

The alternative to UK-wide pay structures would likely be regional pay bargaining, which could have a knock-on effect and lead to the breakdown of Agenda for Change. This would have a devastating impact in areas that have weaker local economies. It is also the case that female-dominated professions do better with transparent, UK-wide pay structures underpinned by a job evaluation system. Regional pay bargaining breaks down those safeguards, ultimately returning us to unequal pay and terms and conditions. 

Pay review bodies provide better pay settlements in the longer term, providing they are allowed to make an independent recommendation. We want to see the NHSPRB free from the political interference of the public sector pay cap so they can make an unfettered recommendation for your pay. But it is not enough to end the policy of pay restraint on paper – this must result in a real-terms pay increase for NHS staff. 

Midwives and MSWs work incredibly hard under increasingly challenging circumstances to give the best care to women and their families, and all we are asking is for you to be treated fairly in return. After all, investment in staff is an investment in high-quality, safe care.

The RCM says that fair pay in the NHS is long overdue.

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