Nurses fear North East NHS staff will miss out on pay rise suggested by Chancellor

Nurses have raised concerns that NHS staff will miss out on a 1% pay rise previously suggested by Chancellor George Osborne

Hospital ward manager Lorraine Snoddon and paediatric nurse practitioner Jane Black
Hospital ward manager Lorraine Snoddon and paediatric nurse practitioner Jane Black

Concerns have been raised by nurses that NHS staff will miss out on a pay rise previously suggested by the Chancellor.

George Osborne said last year a 1% salary increase would be “affordable” for health care staff.

But in a new move, the Department of Health then insisted it did not have the funds for any rise alongside a pay progression system which can see staff get an average 3.5% pay increase.

Today it is expected the Government will make an official announcement on NHS pay for 2014.

Yet nurses in the North East fear they will not get a pay rise, leaving them feeling “undervalued” and “demoralised”.

Lorraine Snoddon, 58, a ward manager at Hexham General Hospital, said: “The cost of living keeps going up. The Government needs to realise that nurses are already struggling with things like increasing petrol costs, travelling to and from work.

“Senior management across the NHS nationally seems to get big pay rises, but nurses work just as hard as them, and it looks like we might be getting nothing.”

Any pay rise would be introduced at the start of next month, but it is suggested that the Department of Health may instead use the money on modernising pay structures.

Jane Black, 45, from Northumberland, a paediatric nurse practitioner at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Nurse practitioners and health care assistants are already experiencing a big financial pinch due to the rising cost of living, and the fact that our pay is not keeping up.

“We have already had a pay freeze over a number of years, so if there is no pay rise it will be a slap in the face to the hard-working nursing family.”

The NHS has been tasked with making huge efficiency savings of £20bn by 2015 and health care staff have had to suffer years of pay freezes.

Estephanie Dunn, operational manager at the RCN Northern Region, said: “If the rumours are true, that the Government is failing to honour the 1% pay increase, then the nursing community will be understandably angry and disappointed. The profession has already been subject to a multiyear pay freeze. As a consequence, inflation has already cut between 8% and 12% from the value of NHS salaries since 2010.

“NHS pensions have already been cut as well, so nurses are now earning less, paying more in, getting less out, and having to work for longer.”

The Health Department said it would not comment on the matter.

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