Wednesday 15 May 2019
At its meeting today, the Committee for Health & Social Care discussed the statement issued the previous day by the South East Regional Branch of the RCN and the frustrations that were expressed.
The Committee has been pressing for action on pay, terms and conditions since it took office, which culminated in it getting States' approval for P&R, acting as the employer, to commission an independent strategic review. It also understands that P&R has been working with the Regional Branch of the RCN that represents the Bailiwick and was therefore surprised by their statement which was not copied to us.
The review was completed at the beginning of this year, and it is HSC's belief, which is evident from the RCN's statement, that whilst there are a number of action points for it to take forward, it is the issue of pay that goes to the heart of the issue. Indeed, if a satisfactory conclusion to the central issue of nurses pay can be achieved, the additional action points will more easily be addressed.
We value all of our staff, but in respect of our agency colleagues, HSC has done a great deal of work to manage the cost of this necessary staff group through the use of framework contracts, which has saved many millions of pounds. Agency staff have an important role to play throughout health care, both here and abroad. However, our clear preference would be to have a compelling, competitive and attractive package to recruit and retain permanent nurses, which would minimise the need for agency. It is a false economy to do otherwise.
Directly after the Committee meeting, the HSC President, Senior Operating Officer and Chief Nurse met with local RCN representatives. They were encouraged to hear that the representatives believed there is a good relationship between HSC and their membership and their appreciation for the work done by HSC to try to make progress.
It was also important to hear their views that patient safety was not the issue here but a desire to have constructive dialogue with Policy & Resources and a clear plan of action in relation to pay, terms and conditions. We echo those views and it is in all our best interests for a speedy resolution.