NURSES throughout the South West are well underway with their Summer of Protest, the college which represents the profession says that the government is “still not listening.”

The Royal College of Nursing, which has a membership of 435,000 registered nurses, midwives, health care assistants and nursing students, has been leading the scrapthecap campaign this summer to denounce the restriction on public sector pay increases.

Lors Allford and Vicky Brotherton who are the RCN council members for the South West stated that “the government are still not listening.”

“They continue to put safe patient care and services at serious risk by choosing not to address the nursing shortages that our health services are facing,” they wrote.

“Until the profession is valued by the government, vacancies will remain unfilled as nursing staff leave the NHS and others choose not to join the profession.

“This will impact on every person who will at some point require care in the NHS.

“We can assure you that every member of the nursing team want to be there for you, to provide you with the highest quality of care.

“But to do this they needs to be enough registered nurses and allied health care professionals including health care assistants in post and we need to stop vacancies increasing further.

“Pay is an important part of this as RCN members are telling us that they are having to take on extra shifts, not only to financially survive, but also to cover shifts on their wards as extra hours to ensure safe staffing numbers for their patients.

“Our nurses are working themselves into the ground to care for patients but an NHS run on staff goodwill is not sustainable.

“It is not safe and it is not what patients deserve.”

Lors and Vicky urge people throughout the South West to write to their MP, encouraging them to scrap the cap on NHS pay, and help give support to the protesting nurses on social media and in the street.

They state that the response from the public has been “heart-warming,” saying: “It means the world to us.”

The pay cap on NHS workers has been set to a maximum of one per cent since 2010 and remains legislated to continue until 2020.

However, inflation has soared from 0.3 per cent in May 2016 to 2.9 per cent in the same month this year, its highest level in four years, leaving NHS wages falling behind.

In a brief statement, the Department of Health (DH) said: “As the secretary of state has made clear, the support and welfare of NHS staff is a top priority as they do a fantastic job. The government is committed to ensuring they can continue to deliver world-class patient care.”

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