...By Henry George for TDPel Media.
On Thursday evening, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced that industrial action at over 120 NHS trusts in England would run continuously for 48 hours from 6am on Wednesday, March 1.
The union has also called for members working in critical care and chemotherapy to take part in the strike action for the first time, whereas previous action only took place during the day shift for 12 hours at a time.
This escalation comes as the government has refused to engage in pay negotiations, according to the RCN.
Services will be reduced to “an absolute minimum”, hospitals will rely on other unions and clinical professionals, and London NHS trusts, including Guy’s and St Thomas’s and Great Ormond Street Hospital, will be affected.
RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive, Pat Cullen, stated that “these strikes will not just run for longer and involve more people but will leave no area of the NHS unaffected,” emphasising the impact of the strike on patients and nursing staff.
The RCN has asked Prime Minister Boris Johnson to listen to NHS leaders and negotiate with nurses instead of pushing them into the strike.
Pay for Nurses
The average wage of a UK nurse is around £33,000 to £35,000 a year, with qualified nurses initially earning £20,270, according to nurses.co.uk.
The pay system has nine bands, each with key pay points.
Nurses typically progress through these pay points annually until they reach the top of the pay band and move up.
For example, a newly qualifyed nurse starting in band five would earn £27,000 a year in England, rising to a minimum of £33,000 in band six.
Nurses’ salaries increase when they take on new responsibilities, such as becoming a ward sister, ward manager, or team leader.
Nurses who extend their skills with further training, such as in pediatrics, mental health, or intensive care, can earn a higher overall salary.
Analysis and Commentary
The continuous strike announced by the RCN in response to the government’s refusal to engage in pay negotiations highlights the ongoing concerns and struggles faced by healthcare workers, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The strike is likely to cause significant disruption and further strain on an already overstretched NHS. The call for critical care and chemotherapy staff to take part in the strike for the first time highlights the severity of the situation and the urgency for the government to address the concerns of healthcare workers.
The issue of pay for nurses and other healthcare workers has been a long-standing issue, with many healthcare workers facing low pay, long hours, and limited resources.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought these issues to the forefront, with healthcare workers risking their lives and working under immense pressure to provide care for patients.
The strike is likely to draw attention to these issues and may pressure the government to address the concerns of healthcare workers.
The average wage of a UK nurse is around £33,000 to £35,000 a year, which is not a high wage considering the skills and responsibilities required of healthcare workers.
The pay system for nurses has nine bands, but the progression through these bands is slow, and salaries only increase when nurses take on new responsibilities.
Nurses who wish to extend their skills through further training may earn a higher salary, but this is not always accessible or feasible for all nurses.
Overall, the continuous strike announced by the RCN highlights the ongoing issues faced by healthcare workers, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is crucial for the government to address these concerns and ensure that healthcare workers are paid fairly and provided with the resources and support necessary to provide safe and effective care.