Push for pay rise to help nursing staff ‘feel more valued’

The Royal College of Nursing said its survey revealed Covid-19 has increased staff stress levels.

Nursing officials have pushed for a pay increase for healthcare staff as 73% of those working say they would feel more valued.

A study by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) found that nearly three-quarters of the 3800 nurses questioned north of the border supported a pay increase.

More than three quarters (77%) of the respondents said that the Covid-19 pandemic has increased their stress levels.

Staff were also found to be concerned for the wellbeing of fellow nurses, with 90% saying they were worried about others in the profession generally.

Theresa Fyffe, the director of RCN Scotland, said: “Our members have painted a clear picture of the challenging times they have faced and the additional burden the pandemic has placed on them as individuals and their teams.

“It is also clear that safe staffing and the lack of recognition of the work that nursing staff do were issues before the pandemic that still need to be addressed.

“The Scottish Government must ensure that nursing is attractive, well-paid and meaningfully supported.”

Staff are also working longer hours now than before the pandemic took hold, with 34% of nurses saying they spend more time working and the same percentage saying staffing levels have worsened as they try to tackle coronavirus.

At the beginning of the pandemic, members of the public would clap on their doorsteps and out their windows in support of health and social care staff, something that RCN chief executive Dame Donna Kinnair said has to “reverberate to the heart of government”.

She added: “We now need to see action. That is why we continue to call for a significant and early pay rise.

“The pandemic is not over, but unless there is improved pay, we risk many of our members leaving the profession – at a time when the nation needs them more than ever.”

Chief nursing officer Fiona McQueen said all health and social care workers in Scotland have access to mental health support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

She added: “We are hugely grateful for the extraordinary hard work, dedication, skill and commitment of all those working in NHS Scotland during this emergency.

“This year, nurses received a 2.95% pay rise as part of our three-year NHS Agenda for Change pay deal, which has delivered a minimum 9% pay increase for most staff, and over 27% for some still moving up their pay scale.

“This is in excess of the 2.8% uplift announced last week for NHS dentists and doctors in England and Scotland.

“We are now in the last year of the three-year deal (and) we are working with NHS unions to agree a timetable to secure a new pay deal for 2021/22.

“We have regular engagement with staff and unions and hearing from staff working on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic are a vital part of understanding the experience of staff, and reaching a deal that reflects and recognises their efforts.”

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