Guest blogs · The StN Project

Students and the NHS Pay Offer

In recent times, the NHS Pay Offer has been released. We are not going to say how we think people should vote. However, we at StNP do feel that all healthcare workers should be politically active, just as Ewout’s blog describes. We feel that all staff should read through the offer and look at what they will be gaining & losing. Be informed when you make your choice. We do agree with the general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, Janet Davies, when she says, “it is not acceptable to abuse or personally insult staff or members of any union.” As nurses & nursing staff, we should all be above that kind of behaviour.

Here are some key facts: 

1) The pay rise offer is an increase of a minimum of 6.5% over the next three years. Figures suggest some staff may get a 29% pay increase.
2) This is the highest pay rise for NHS staff in the last 8 years.
3) The Pay Offer is just for the NHS workers in England.
4) The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts that RPI inflation is set to increase by 9.6% over the next three years, which means a 6.5% pay rise for those at the top of their bands is below the rate of inflation.
5) There are some unsociable hours payments that may change over the next three-year period.
6) Overall, basic pay will increase over the three years by 22% (£4,842) for a band 5 nurse who started this year, 16% (£3,819) over the three years for a band 5 nurse with two years’ experience and 6.5% (£1,869) if they are at the top of the pay band.
7) Increments will no longer be automatic. Historically, increments have been linked with time of service but the proposals will formally link them with performance requirements.
8) The increased starting salaries and quick pay progression should work wonders for recruitment but will do nothing for the retention of experienced and long-serving staff.
9) Every single NHS worker will be paid at least £8.93 an hour, which is higher than the voluntary living wage of £8.75.
10) The pay rise will cost around £4.2 billion. This is new money from the government, meaning it is not from the existing NHS budget.

References for this information can be found at the bottom of this post. (Dann Gooding – student nurse) 

Why student nurses need to join the pay debate – by Jess Redway @JeepersMcCoy
3C3756C0-6CD9-4201-9CC5-83EA4EA187EBI’m studying mental health nursing at Southampton University. Before this new and exciting career change I worked for over ten years doing web and transformation stuff in Local Government. I have 2 cats, a child and a husband (not necessarily in that order). I like writing and roaring. Like a lion. A great, big nursing lion.

Unless you have been living on the moon you will already be aware that there is a new pay deal on the table for NHS staff. Negotiated between the government and the unions, it will be open to consultation between 23 April to 5 June.

As student nurses, we aren’t eligible to vote. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t and shouldn’t have our voices heard.
Why you should care
Of course you don’t have to work for the NHS when you qualify, but there is a fair chance you plan to. Even if you work in the private sector, changes to NHS pay will influence the pay for other jobs competing for a limited number of potential staff. These might not be your pay scales now, but one way or another they will be if they are agreed.

This not only has an impact on you, but all the people you work with on placements and many of your lecturers who have clinical jobs as well as teaching. You want these people to feel valued and able to support you through your studies. You want them to be there to still support you when you leave university and get a job. You might even just like them and want them to get the best deal they can, because you are a nurse and caring is what you do.

Perhaps most importantly, as a student you have something to add. You bring a different point of view to someone who has been working in the NHS for years. You may have experience of different industries and be able to look at the information in a different way. You may just be someone from outside the group, able to speak with a fresh voice and energy. Whatever your background, you have something unique and worthwhile to say.
Now you want to know more
Read the published information on the proposal. It is complicated (seriously), so also check other sources for more information and different views on what is being offered. Read both sides of the debate and form your own views. If you don’t understand something ask about it on twitter, Facebook groups and with your union.

Give some of these places a look:
● The proposal can be found at
● Check the union’s sites for their views, different unions have different views so read around.
● Read the news
● Keep an eye out on Twitter for blogs and views from both sides of the debate and all sorts of people.
Ready to get talking?
As I said, we can’t vote, but we can shout out and in doing so we can sway opinion and bring new perspectives. Whether you support the deal or not, it is important that students make their voices heard and there are ways to do this.
● Get on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation. Say your piece, ask questions, talk to people.
● If you blog and want to give a view do it.
● Find out when your next union branch meeting is and go along. This gives you direct access to the people most likely to vote and be active in campaigning. Meeting them face to face can make the difference.
● Speak to your student information officers and ask how you can get involved with the local branch of RCN.

Whatever your view of the proposed pay deal, we are the future and we are the ones who will have to live with the consequences. Your voice can make a difference. Use it.

(A collaboration piece between Dann Gooding and Jess Redway – both are student nurses)


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