Capitulating to nurse demands would set a dangerous precedent

Commenting on the Royal College of Nursing’s decision to reject the government’s latest pay offer, IEA Labour Market Expert, Professor Len Shackleton, said:

“The danger of a generous settlement with nurses is that other groups across the public sector, from junior doctors to firefighters, will want to follow – if not now, then at the next pay review round. The costs of our bloated public sector, already very difficult to control, will shoot through the roof.  

“Given near-record borrowing, massive public debt, and ever-rising taxation, the government – probably any government – will try to offset a high pay settlement by cutting back on public spending.

“The government should focus on improving conditions for nurses to avoid setting the precedent for bank-breaking settlements in future. This could include forgiving some student debt, tweaking pension arrangements, scrapping hospital parking charges, and ending fees for revalidation with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

“In future, we should reform the NHS to facilitate pay arrangements based on supply and demand for healthcare services in particular regions and localities. We should move away from the government trying to set wages centrally for nurses across the country.”


Notes to Editors

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