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RCM calls for removal of 1% pay cap for NHS staff as unions write to Prime Minister

19 June, 2017

RCM calls for removal of 1% pay cap for NHS staff as unions write to Prime Minister

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Today the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and other NHS trade unions have written to Theresa May calling on her to end her policy of public sector pay restraint and address the significant fall in the value of NHS pay.

Commenting on the letter, Jon Skewes, Director for Policy, Employment Relations and Communications, at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “The general election result clearly showed that the public are concerned about on-going pay restraint in the NHS. We, along with the other unions are demanding that the government put an end to their disastrous policy of pay restraint. Since 2010 the average midwife has seen their pay drop in value by over £6,000. This is unacceptable, unsustainable and cannot continue.

“There is currently a shortage of 3,500 midwives in the UK with many midwives considering leaving the NHS. It is critical that the government wakes up to this and pays NHS staff a fair wage to make sure they retain much-needed staff in the service. Inflation is on the rise squeezing incomes even further and making it even harder for many working people to make ends meet.

“The RCM, along with the other health unions will continue to pressure the Government on this issue and will be calling on our members to write to their MP asking for their support for fair pay.

“It is time for a just and fair pay award for our hardworking midwives and other NHS staff, and one that makes up for years of real terms pay cuts. Investing in NHS staff is an investment in better care.”

The letter to Theresa May from the RCM and other unions can be read below.

To contact the RCM Press Office call 020 7312 3456, or email pressofficer@rcm.org.uk.


Notes to editors

The 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 website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/


The RT Hon Theresa May MP

Prime Minister

10 Downing Street




Monday 19th June


Dear Prime Minister,

By your own admission, austerity, and a lack of investment in the public sector was a significant factor in the general election result. Many have said that the pay freeze in the public sector was in part to blame for your failure to secure a parliamentary majority, alongside senior health leaders who agree that people who work in our NHS should be fairly rewarded for the work they do.

Organisations that represent patients and our NHS workforce are calling for the Queen’s Speech to mark a clear change in direction.

People who are working in the NHS are delivering care to the best of their ability but we are very worried that care is becoming unsafe. Our services are struggling to make do without the staff they need.

The Public Sector Pay Cap has forced professionals out of jobs they love. Those who stay are overstretched and under pressure to do ever more with less. The longstanding cap stands in the way of recruiting and retaining the best in health care. It is having a profound and detrimental effect on standards of care for people at a time when the NHS is short of staff across every discipline. This is alongside an uncertain future for EU nationals working in health and care.

Next month, our vital national service turns 69. In its seventieth year, you have the opportunity to show the country how much you value the lives of people who work in the NHS, and the people they serve.

We call on you to prioritise patient safety by guaranteeing safe staffing across all of our services and changing your policy on NHS pay. Government should remove the pay cap and address the real-terms loss of earnings so the NHS can retain and attract staff, resolve the workforce shortage and ensure safe patient care.

Yours sincerely,

Janet Davies, Chief Executive & General Secretary

Royal College of Nursing

June Chandler, Lead Officer

British Association of Occupational Therapists

Mick Armstrong, Chair

British Dental Association

Annette Mansell Green, Head of Employment Relations

British Dietetic Association

Dr Mark Porter, Chair

British Medical Association

Lesley Anne Baxter, Chair

British & Irish Orthoptic Society

Karen Middleton CBE, Chief Executive

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Geoff Lester, National Negotiator

Federation of Clinical Scientists

Kevin Brandstatter, Public Services Section and National Lead Organiser


Dave Prentis, General Secretary


Jon Restell, Chief Executive

Managers in Partnership

Steve Gillan, General Secretary

Prison Officers Association

Jon Skewes, Director for Policy, Employment Relations and Communications

Royal College of Midwives

Richard Evans OBE, Chief Executive

Society of Radiographers

Martin Furlong, Interim Head of Employment Relations

The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists

Gail Cartmail, Assistant General Secretary

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