Friday, 17 December 2010

A Letter from the RCN

From Peter Carter:

"Last week we wrote to you with news of an important proposal from the NHS in England.

Despite already imposing a two year pay freeze, the NHS in England has now told the RCN and other NHS trade unions that there isn't sufficient money to pay increments for any NHS staff for up to two years. In exchange for a total increment freeze, the NHS are offering a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies for some staff.

Yesterday, RCN Council held a meeting to discuss the proposal. This email is to tell you about that discussion and to set out the next steps.

RCN Council examined the proposal in great detail. We need to be clear that Council will not accept or reject the proposal until you and every other RCN member has had the opportunity to share your views. However, Council wanted me to share with you their initial thoughts.

Council were unanimous in their opinion that the proposal does not offer any kind of guarantee for nursing staff and that, if implemented, it could signal the end of national terms and conditions through Agenda for Change which the RCN fought so hard for.

Although the proposal sets out a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies for those on bands 1-6, this will only apply in trusts that decide to opt-in and will involve local discussions and agreement.

RCN Council also believe that, in reality, the vast majority of nurses are not facing this threat. Instead, the real danger to patients and services comes from the tens of thousands of posts which are set to be cut through recruitment freezes and deleting vacant posts.

To give up any prospect of career progression in exchange for a measure that does not guarantee staffing levels, not to mention job security for all nursing staff, will understandably anger many of you. We also know that an increment freeze will have a real financial impact at a time when VAT is set to rise, the cost of living is going up and pension contributions are increasing.

So what happens next?

Council have asked me to start the process of discussing the proposals with our sister unions in the NHS. We also need more information from the NHS in several key areas:

What is the funding gap that decision makers are trying to bridge?

What other savings are planned, and how will they be achieved?

If NHS staff are expected to accept yet another restriction on their pay, what else is being done to save money?

How many jobs are at risk, and how many would be avoided through the guarantee?

How can Foundation Trusts, who have autonomy over their own pay agreements, guarantee no compulsory redundancies?

The guarantee only extends to staff between bands 1-6, what about the thousands at bands 7-9?

Let me be clear. Asking for this information does not mean that we are 'negotiating' on the proposal at this stage. It simply means that we need to have all the information in order to share it with you, our members, so you can have all the facts before you tell us your views. I wish to assure you that, ultimately, it will be you, our members, who accept or reject this offer.

We are your union, your voice for nursing and we will act in your best interests and those of your patients.

Over the next few weeks we will be sharing news with you about our consultation process, in the meantime, please do carry on telling us your views through your branches and boards, your Council members, through the Frontline First website, via the the RCN's Facebook page or by emailing us at

Thank you to all those who have shared your thoughts already. We wish to assure you that we are listening to each and every comment.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Peter Carter

Chief Executive & General Secretary

P.S. You can find out more about the terms of these proposals by watching this video:"


Nurse Anne said...

Dear Peter,

For fuck's sake why don't you just grow a pair, you pussy.

Militant Medical Nurse.

Com Matron said...

Will the last one out turn the lights off....

Anyone fancy a collection for Nick n Dave's assassination fund....

I give up!

Dino-nurse said...

Maybe a glimmer of hope if the other unions decide that there is safety in numbers and call for a national strike?
Mark my words, its this sort of behaviour (under the last tory government) that caused a mass exodus of nurses from the UK- I was one of them along with many of my friends.
if you are old/frail/ very afraid.

Mark said...

Why oh why is the RCN unable to stick up for its members in clear unambiguous terms?
Their pathetic, indecisive, drivel lets the government and NHS management get away with whatever they want.

Zarathustra said...

Wow, Peter almost sounded assertive there! That's how shocking these proposals are.

This is why I'm with Unite rather than the RCN.

NHS Nursing Student said...

I met Peter Carter last year at a student thing to get more student members. He doesn't really have much to say of any importance but every RCN advisor / branch lead or whatever they call themselves look up to Peter Carter as if he is some god of nursing rights. Let's not forget he is infact just another manager in Nursing. He was at one point calling himself Dr Carter, god knows where he got that title from and why he does not call himself that anymore. He was also the driving force behind the surge of HCA's and "Cadets" in the NHS.

It will be interesting to see how this will impact graduates, well it wont be interesting, more obvious, there will be yet again less jobs for graduates and hospitals up and down the land for any newly-qualified staff, that with the 10% cut in student nurse numbers in scotland and the even bigger cuts universities are making each year (my school cut 10% of student numers last year and 12% this year) means there will be no jobs and eventually, not enough newly-qualified nurses even if there were any jobs! I suspect along with this proposal now more specialized services will deeply suffer first, and then more general areas like elderly medicine and geriatirc care that have infact been suffering for years. Every NHS service out there will be in the gutter, particually nurse-led services.

How much tighter are they going to make the noose before every nhs trust out there begins to choke? A department I was in for my second placement which is very nurse-strong is being cut back, in the meantime they are bringing in 1 new consultant and 2 reg posts due to the closure of 2 satalite units and more patients than ever will be walking through their doors in april/may time. The A&E department I used to work in haven't advertised for a band 5 or 6 for months and months and 3 inside the department are about to go on long maternity leave. The first placement I was on which is a acute stroke have just lost 2 nurses and replaced them with 1 HCA. It's turning into one big fucking joke all over the country.

Essentially, it will be the same story over, patients will suffer, and potentially die from the lack of care and resources needed. Another fiasco like in staffs will likely occur. How many dead patients and throttled services do these wankers in government and upper-management in the NHS need before they realise their money-making excercise in theory looks brilliant and in practice is deadly?

Dino-nurse said...

He has a PhD, so is entitled to call himself "dr". its only the UK that gets its knickers in a twist when non-medics with PhDs quite rightly do this.
That said, he hasn'r practised as a clinical nurse in decades (much like the rest of the RCN) and is hopelessly out of touch. I met him once and asked about staffing levels and skill-mix in the future. He sidestepped the question, as he also did about strike action. Sucking up to the powers that be is a preresquisite for a union offical...

Anonymous said...

Some redundancies. Maybe some. I've spent three and a half years (had a blip in the middle) in abject poverty, and now the end is in sight and I've found myself a job I'm going to be stuck at the bottom. So in two years, when I've done my PREP, to ensure I'm a safe and up to date practitioner there will be brand new staff climbing the ladder at exactly the same rate as me, with less experience on the same money, that I will no doubt be expected to be a preceptor for.

Dino-nurse said...

Lets face it, if increments are frozen now then they will never come back. There is a lovely little get out clause in the foundation trust manifesto that allows them to set their own payrates, if they so choose. To date, none have bothered as there has been no point. Now its been handed to them on a plate. watch this space, by 2015 the NHS will no longer employ RNs- the foundation trusts that survive the current financial mess will become fully fledged private hospitals that cater for elective treatments only. Some of the biggest ones will opt to take truama and ICU will be lumped in with this as the two go hand in hand. You can make a profit out of trauma if you have a captive market- ie only a few centres will take patients. These private hospitals will be the only one to employ RNs and may or may not provide better working conditions. Insurance will become the norm. Anyone with a chronic (mainly medical) condition will be left to the mercy of the "improved" NHS. This will consist of the failed trusts who now only employ HCAs/APs on the wards. Doctors etc will only work here in exchange for payments towards their student loans...this is the county system in the US- few doctors choose to work in these hellholes (believe me, I have first hand experience-most of the RNs were like me, from Europe). This is where we are heading Dr Carter , unless we DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

murse said...

Happy Xmas Anne! May the new year bring us all less shite than the last one ;-)

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