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Nurses blast Welsh Government after doctors’ pay settlement

07 Jun 2024 3 minute read
Photo Jeff Moore/PA Wire

The Welsh Government has been blasted by nurses’ leaders following the pay settlement agreed with doctors which was announced earlier today (7 June).

Royal College of Nursing Wales (RCN) says it is “incensed” by the offer, which the British Medical Association (BMA) has recommended that junior doctors, specialist doctors and consultants accept.

Under the deals, junior doctors have been offered a 7.4% additional uplift, taking the total to a 12.4% uplift for 2023-24, which will be backdated to April last year.

A revised consultant pay scale has been proposed, providing higher career earnings, increased starting pay, and an additional pay rise of up to 10.1% for some consultant doctors.

Specialist doctors will see pay offers for newer contracts increase between 6.1 to 9.2%, as well as an additional uplift for associate specialists – senior doctors who are on closed contracts.

Bitter dispute

Nurses in Wales took strike action amid a bitter dispute over pay last year, eventually agreeing a deal with the Welsh Government last September for a 5% wage increase and a one-off payment for 2022-23 worth between £900 and £1,190.

The union says the government still hasn’t made good on promise for pay restoration and implementation of the non-pay elements outlined in the deal. These include statutory provision of continuing professional development, flexible working and eliminating corridor care as normal practice.

Helen Whyley, Executive Director of Royal College of Nursing Wales said: “All NHS workers deserve a proper pay rise, but nursing staff are still waiting at the back of the queue.

“They feel let down and misled by this government.

“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.”

“Actions speak louder than words. This announcement comes only days after the First Minister opened our annual RCN Congress on home soil in Newport, speaking of his unwavering support for nursing staff.

“It shows his government support is merely hot air and no real commitment. 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.”

Affordability

In a joint statement on the offer to doctors, First Minister Vaughan Gething and Health Minister Eluned Morgan described the deal as “at the limit of our affordability”.

They said: “While strike action has been paused during negotiations, if these offers are accepted, it will end this dispute and industrial action, meaning doctors will return to work in Wales for the benefit of patients and NHS services.

“The negotiations have been robust and while the aim was to end the 2023-24 dispute and prevent further disruptive strike action, these offers also ensure the additional investment in doctors’ pay is balanced against commitments towards operational reforms, which seek to address productivity and efficiency and achieving future contract reform.

“These pay awards, if accepted, will also help to address inequalities in the senior NHS medical workforce.

“These offers are at the limit of our affordability. We have been open and transparent about our financial constraints with our social partners during negotiations.”


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Richard Davies
Richard Davies
18 hours ago

I fully support the nurses,.I will always support those people that strike for better pay and conditions.

I wasn’t a supporter of Pat Cullen, the leader of the RCN, as she vetoed the TUC proposal for a general strike.

Beau Brummie
Beau Brummie
17 hours ago

Vaughan Gething may not be a man of principle, but he is clearly a supreme pragmatist. Most politicians are a judicious mix of the two.

This deal has his fingerprints all over the paperwork, and it’s a sensible move to stop the cash haemorrhage of agency and locum wages.

Is this where the tide of public opinion on VG turns?

David
David
17 hours ago

The nurses should NOT vote for the Labour party.

Howie
Howie
14 hours ago

It is quite obvious that the money for rises was set aside for when an election was called, the losers big time are the people of Wales who had appointments and treatment delayed some maybe irreversible.
When will people wake up to the contempt Labour show Wales time after time.
They are bedfellows with the Tories in that.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
6 minutes ago

Gethings ‘unwaivering support for nurses’ probably runs along the same lines as his unwaivering support for the environment. It is all hot air.

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