The 1% cap will continue for all NHS staff in Wales and Scotland in the public sector until April 2018.
Per the report by the National Health Service Pay Review Body (NHSPRB), pay increases over time experienced by individual workers who remain continuously in the same job, 'tend to be higher' than the increase in average pay.
Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN, called the deal a 'bitter blow' to nurses. 'The nursing profession is rightly held in high regard but kind words don’t pay the bills,' she said. ‘With this announcement, the Government will deter new people from joining the nursing profession at the very moment it is failing to retain staff and European colleagues in particular head for the door.’
Between March 2010 and 2015, nurse’s pay rates increased 2.2%. However, this amounted to a 14% decrease of pay in real terms compared to the rate of inflation.
Davies added: ‘Many nurses rely on working extra hours for the NHS as agency staff but, from next week, they will be forced to work through a ‘bank’ and accept lower rates of pay than they get in their normal NHS job. We do not support this agency ban - nurses should not work for less than they are worth and they have a right to work in whatever way is best for them.
Director for policy and employment relations Jon Skewes said:
‘It is extremely disappointing that the government is continuing with its disastrous policy of pay restraint for a seventh year.
‘The government need to intervene now to retain much-needed staff before it is too late.
‘The government should show NHS staff they are valued by giving them a fair pay rise that is in line with inflation. Investment in staff is an investment in high quality, safe care.’
In addition, Welsh health secretary, Vaughan Gething said:
'I remain committed to tackling the issue of low pay in Wales and will ensure the lowest earners in NHS Wales are paid a fair salary, as recommended by the Living Wage Foundation. I am therefore implementing the uplift to the Living Wage – to £8.45 an hour – for all directly employed NHS staff from 1 April 2017.'
The RCN in Wales praised the Welsh Government for honouring the recommendations of the NHS Pay Review Body, which included ‘a 1% increase to the High Cost Area Supplement minimum and maximum payments’ and working towards a unified pay structure for the NHS across the UK.
If you're a registered nurse who is fed up with the current restraints on nursing pay rates in the UK and are looking for regular flexible agency nursing shifts, get in contact with one of our expert recruitment consultants for a confidential chat about the options available to you. As your trusted nursing agency, we are with you day-in day-out and updating regularly update our site with resources, blogs and information to support you.