Welsh Finance Minister Jane Hutt has criticised the UK government's move towards regionalised public sector pay announced in yesterday's [Feb 21] Budget, with the Royal College of Nursing adding that "ultimately it is patients who would suffer from any move away from national pay rates for nursing staff".

Chancellor George Osbourne has argued that many public sector organisations pay staff "more than is necessary", making it harder for local businesses to attract and retain workers but the move has been criticised by many government backbenchers.

Conservative MP Guto Bebb described the proposals as "potentially dangerous with Ms Hutt adding that "it [regional pay] doesn't make economic sense or social sense - it is going to drive down and divide our key public service workforce".

The RCN are also worried that any moves towards regionalising pay would lead to "damaging competition between [NHS] Trusts".

Earlier this week an RN4CAST study revealed further evidence that nursing number and working environment have a direct relation to quality of care and patient experience and the RCN's chief executive Dr Peter Carter believes patients will suffer if regional pay is introduced.

"Introducing regional pay would only serve to drive down pay in certain areas and this should be a major cause of concern for employers," he said.

"Nursing is not an easy job that just anyone can do; it requires a high level of skill and dedication and in this country we are very privileged to have such a committed workforce.

"The NHS cannot afford to ignore this growing body of evidence [linking nursing numbers and patient care] if it wants to protect patient care. It needs to recognise that its staff are its most valuable asset and start investing in them. For this reason the RCN will fiercely resist any move away from national pay rates for nursing staff."

Read the findings of the RN4CAST in full at www.rn4cast.eu/en 

Posted 22/03/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com