Huntingdonshire nurses take fair pay campaign to health minister

Steve Ney with MP Stephen Barclay

Steve Ney with MP Stephen Barclay - Credit: Archant

Nurses across Huntingdonshire have called upon newly-appointed health minister Stephen Barclay to support their campaign for fair pay.

Mr Barclay, the MP for North East Cambridgeshire, met the Royal College of Nursing member and pay champion Steve Ney, at one of his constituency surgeries where they discussed nursing pay and the impact on staff morale, the ability to recruit and retain nursing staff locally, and levels of staffing required to deliver safe patient care.

According to the college, NHS nursing staff have experienced a 14 per cent real-terms pay cut since 2010, leaving them £3,000 a year worse off.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Ney said: “It was helpful to meet with Mr Barclay to discuss the campaign. Nursing staff work tirelessly to care for patients but our jobs are getting harder and harder.

“In the eastern region nursing staff are struggling to pay their bills each month and are exhausted from working in busy, understaffed services. Many are leaving the profession because they can’t cope any more – we need a pay rise that reflects the work we do.”

Nurses from around the county have collected more than 400 postcards signed by constituents opposed to the Government’s policy on public sector pay restraint and they have been delivered to Mr Barclay as a part of a campaign called scrap the cap.

The Royal College of Nursing represents more than 38,000 nurses across the eastern region, including Huntingdonshire.

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In October 2017, Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, announced that the one per cent cap on nursing pay increases would be scrapped.

Teresa Budrey, the college’s eastern regional director, said: “Years of pay restraint means nursing staff have been left feeling angry and demoralised.

“In an overstretched and underfunded health service they are working flat out, often staying behind after their shift finishes to care for patients because of staff shortages. “After RCN members led the campaign to scrap the longstanding one per cent cap on nursing pay increases, nursing are meeting MPs across the country to explain what a meaningful pay rise would mean to them, their colleagues and the profession as a whole.

“What we are asking for now is a pay award above inflation to begin to make up the money nursing staff have lost over the last decade.”