Nurses’ leader slams Osborne

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UNION leaders today said the Chancellor’s push for local pay deals will shortchange North East nurses.

The Sunderland-based RCN Northern Region spoke out as the national body moves closer towards balloting for industrial action for first time in its 95-year history.

Responding to a letter from George Osborne to the Pay Review Body, which proposes a move from a national NHS pay deal to one based on local negotiation, acting regional director Estephanie Dunn said: “It’s fundamentally unfair.

“Nurses do the same training, deliver the same services, and are monitored against the same quality measures, regardless of where they work.

“This proposal is a bad deal for the patient, a bad deal for the taxpayer and a bad deal for nurses.

“It is a bad deal for the patient because you will have the situation where well-resourced hospitals will be able to poach senior nurses from hospitals who are in a less fortunate financial position.

“It is a bad deal for the taxpayer because temporary fluctuations in regional and local workforce availability will now have a disproportionate impact on salaries, leading to increased costs for all NHS employers regardless, as they compete to recruit the same workforce.

“In short, this is a proposal to further run down our region, and our community.

“It’s not fair on nurses, and it’s not fair on the local communities that they serve.”

She added: “The RCN Council is meeting on January 10 to decide whether to ballot our members for industrial action.

“The Government seem hell-bent on provoking our members to go down this route.”