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RCM to Theresa May: ‘End Pay Restraint in the NHS’

Jon Skewes, Director for Policy, Employment Relations and Communications
19 June, 2017

RCM to Theresa May: ‘End Pay Restraint in the NHS’

Today (Monday 19th June) the RCM, along with other NHS trade unions, wrote 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.

Today (Monday 19th June) the RCM, along with other NHS trade unions, wrote 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.

The RCM has been campaigning hard to end public sector pay restraint and during the general election we asked candidates to commit to a pledge to end pay restraint in the NHS. It is clear that on-going pay restraint in the NHS was a significant factor in the general election result so we took this opportunity to write to Theresa May demanding that the government put an end to their disastrous policy. You can read our letter here. We will continue to keep the pressure on the government and you can help us put pressure on Theresa May by sharing our letter on Facebook and Twitter. If you are on Twitter please make sure you tag us @MidwivesRCM and the Prime Minister @theresa_may and use the hashtag #nhspay.

It is critical that the government wakes up to the disastrous impact of continuing pay restraint to this and pays NHS staff a fair wage to make sure they retain much-needed staff in the service. Here are just five (of the many) reasons why pay restraint is a disaster for maternity services and the NHS:

 

  1. Below-inflation increases for the past seven years have caused midwives’ pay to drop in value by over £6,000 since 2010. Last week figures were released that showed CPI inflation is now at 2.9% and RPI inflation is now at 3.7% squeezing incomes even further and making it even harder for normal people to make ends meet.
  2. There is currently a shortage of 3,500 midwives in the NHS and there are many more midwives debating leaving midwifery because the staffing and workload pressures are challenging midwives’ ability to give high quality, safe care to women and their families. It is reckless to continue to restrain pay given the current shortage of staff especially because there are two staffing crises that are looming on the horizon: namely the introduction of tuition of fees for new midwifery students and the uncertain future of staff from other EU countries.
  3. The Government need to intervene now to retain much-needed staff before it is too late and our evidence to the NHSPRB shows that 80% of midwives who are intending to leave or have left the service tell us they would be persuaded to stay if their pay was higher.
  4. The NHSPRB cited the RCM’s evidence many times in their report (we were the most quoted trade union) and in particular, the report’s chapter on morale, motivation and engagement focused on two professional groups of particular concern: ambulance workers and midwives. The government must not ignore the NHSPRB’s warning signs. 
  5. The NHSPRB repeatedly criticised the Government’s policy of pay restraint in their report saying it is coming under stress and is unsustainable. They said: “We are concerned that, in too many places, the default strategy to deal with significant increases in patient demand within a slowly increasing budget is by expecting NHS staff to work more intensively, in more stressful working environments, for pay that continues to decrease in real terms. We do not consider this a sustainable position”.

But the main reason pay restraint is a complete disaster for maternity services and the NHS is because you deserve better. If the last few weeks have shown the Government anything it is that they need to value and reward the hard-working staff in the public services. We are not asking for anything out of the ordinary, we are just asking for you to be treated fairly in exchange for your truly extraordinary service you give everyday.

 

We have said it many times but now the government have to listen - investment in NHS staff is an investment in high quality, safe care.

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