Clearly NHS nurses are underpaid

Clearly NHS nurses are underpaid. We all know of nurses who have to take two jobs to support their families and still have to rely on food banks. And the toll that the profession takes on their lives and their physical and mental health is all too plain to see. No wonder nurses are leaving the profession in droves.

The Government says it won’t budge on pay; so let’s put the onus back on the individual NHS Trusts. Foundation Trusts get to decide the pay of their CEOs, other C-suite and senior management, discretionary bonuses for medical consultants and even the rates for agency staff within prescribe limits but are constrained by the national Agenda for Change with pay for nursing staff. It is time that excellence in nursing is rewarded locally at the Trust level. The extra cash for this could be found by carefully reviewing the spend on management and administrative staff functions. Of course we need well run organisations to meet quality and patient care and safety outcomes but do we, for example, need the plethora of committees and senior and middle management time that may be spent on over attending these sometimes seemingly endless and possibly superfluous meetings? I would suggest that as part of the internal audit procedures of all Foundation Trusts a thorough efficiency and effectiveness review is carried out on corporate and administrative functions, procedure and costs similar to that explored by the national Carter Review and optimisation of shared services across Trusts considered where appropriate. Some of the savings achieved could be directed towards increased and bonus pay for frontline staff such as the nurses with the national framework suitably adjusted if necessary to permit this at the local level. As a member of all three Foundation Trusts in the county where I and my nurse wife reside I will be asking the appropriate questions at the annual members’ meetings. I would encourage others to do likewise.

Dr Keith Arundale
Former NHS Foundation Trust Non-Executive Director and Audit Chair
Windsor, Berkshire

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