Hospitals and health services in Shropshire would struggle to cope without dedicated nurses working unpaid extra hours or reporting for duty when they feel unwell, the union claimed today.
The comments come after the most recent NHS staff survey showed that more than half of staff at the four hospital and health trusts in Shropshire work unpaid extra hours each week. At Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, the proportion is 64 per cent.
The survey also found that more than half of staff at each trust had gone to work recently despite not feeling well enough to perform their duties. At the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the figure was 63 per cent.
The RCN, the UK’s largest nursing union,today used to figures to put a call out for extra pay for its members in Shropshire.
It warned the Government not to exploit the goodwill of nursing staff, saying they are already working at full capacity due to unprecedented demand on the NHS and persistent staff shortages.
The RCN has recently succeeded in campaigning for the Government to lift the one per cent cap on NHS pay awards under which the value of nurses’ pay has fallen by 14 per cent in real terms since 2010.
But the union says nurses deserve a long-overdue fair pay deal in 2018/19 – and they must not be subjected to even more pressure to earn it.
Mike Adams, Shropshire's regional director of the RCN, said: “The Government talks about linking pay to productivity gains, but how much more productive can NHS nursing staff be when so many of them are already working extra hours without pay, already working through their breaks and already staying on after their shift was supposed to end, because they put their patients’ needs before their own?
“The health service would grind to a halt without the capacity generated by staff working those extra hours or soldiering on when they don’t actually feel well enough to work. The Government’s commitment to fund a pay rise is welcome but it’s unfair for them to suggest staff somehow need to do even more to deserve it.”
The NHS Pay Review Body is due to make a recommendation on the 2018/19 pay round next spring.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has written to the PRB to confirm that the Government will provide additional funding for NHS staff pay awards subject to agreement with health unions about "reforms to boost productivity".