RCN outlines nurse pay demands for 2024-25

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has demanded an above-inflation pay rise for nurses, and extra payments to support recruitment and retention, as part of a 2024-25 pay deal.

Nursing staff on Agenda for Change should receive a “substantial” pay rise above inflation in this coming financial year, the union has urged in its submission the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB).

“The crisis in the nursing workforce deepens each day”

Pat Cullen

Its submission also includes a call for national recruitment and retention premia payments to be implemented for the nursing workforce “as a matter of urgency and priority”, to help attract people and stop them from leaving.

The RCN has said it wants these premia payments to be worth “several thousand pounds”, although this is not mentioned in its official report to the NHS PRB.

RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen said these top-up payments would “recognise the crisis” in the nursing workforce, and that it would help ease the unrest among nurses.

She described it as a “no-brainer” for politicians.

“The crisis in the nursing workforce deepens each day as thousands of experienced staff decide to leave the NHS, fed up with being undervalued and underpaid,” said Ms Cullen.

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“When nursing professionals with the greatest clinical experience leave the profession, patient care ultimately suffers.

“An additional top-up payment worth several thousand pounds would recognise the crisis gripping the nursing workforce.

“It is a quick and effective measure that can alleviate some of the dissatisfaction with pay, terms and conditions felt by staff after years of neglect.”

The union also called on the PRB to recommend automatic progression from Agenda for Change band 5 to band 6 for nurses to improve career prospects for the workforce.

Ms Cullen warned the government that failing to improve pay “has consequences”.

The RCN said it was still in pay dispute with the government, and that there was the “potential” for further industrial action in 2024.

Other unions, including Unison, have boycotted the PRB due to claims it is not impartial and recommends sub-par pay increases.

The body’s process formally started in December, making it unlikely that a 2024-25 pay deal will be delivered on time, by April.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said in response to RCN’s demands: “We hugely value all our NHS staff and have asked the independent pay review bodies to make recommendations on pay for 2024-25.

“These independent bodies are made up of industry experts who take into account several factors including the economic context, cost of living, recruitment, retention, and motivation of NHS staff.

“The government will carefully consider these independent recommendations in determining pay uplifts for NHS staff.”

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