Nurses in Wales 'incensed' over pay offer to doctors

Nurses took part in strikes throughout 2023 over pay and working conditions, and voted to narrowly accept a pay deal in September last year. Credit: PA Images

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Wales has hit out at a new pay offer put to doctors.

Helen Whyley, the union's Executive Director said her members feel "let down and misled by this government" after nurses accepted a 5% pay deal in September.

She continued: “the repeated firm position from the Welsh Government that there was no money in the pot for NHS nursing staff salaries was either untrue or demonstrates that they can’t manage their finances.

"Either way it shows a total disregard to principle of equity of approach to NHS negotiations.”

Criticising the First Minister, Ms Whyley said "his government have failed to fulfil the promises made to nurses in last year's pay award and now they add insult to that injury by substantially increasing only the doctors' pay award for 2023-24."

What is the pay offer for doctors?

The pay deal for junior doctors, consultants and specialist doctors has risen from the original offer put on the table of 5%, which was described as the worst in the UK.

A vote will soon take place on whether junior doctors will accept a 12.4% uplift, consultants a rise of up to 10.1% and specialist doctors an increase between 6.1%-9.2%.

What was the deal nurses accepted?

In September 2023, nurses voted to accept an offer which included a 5% pay rise for 2023-2024 and a one-off payment for 2022-2023. There was also a promise to improve working conditions.

It brought an end to months of strike action which began in December 2022 and lasted until June 2023.

But speaking at the beginning of this year, RCN Wales said the Welsh Government's commitment to deliver on the non-pay elements was not "moving quickly enough".

And in the last week, the union said patients are experiencing "absolutely shocking" conditions being treated in hospital corridors in Wales.

The Chair of RCN Wales said nearly half of their members had told the union they intend to leave the profession.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We greatly value Wales’ nursing workforce, which does so much to look after and provide life-saving and life-changing care for people, often in very pressured circumstances.

“We have always been open and transparent about Welsh Government finances in our negotiations with the RCN and other Agenda for Change unions. And we will continue to be so as we continue to work in social partnership with all NHS trade unions.”

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