Nurses struggling to pay bills, says deputy
WHEN a deadline is set and the States fail to meet it, the community loses faith, Deputy Jennifer Merrett has said as wrangling over health professionals’ pay continues.
The delays concerned a strategic review of the terms and conditions attached to nursing and midwifery staff employed by the States.
It was decided by the Assembly in December 2017 that the review would go ahead and an amendment was made to plans by Deputy Peter Ferbrache, seconded by Jennifer Merrett, to include a deadline.
It asked Policy & Resources to report back to the States with both conclusions of the review and detailed plans for the implementation of its findings by no later than 31 March this year.
However, no detailed plan was produced. Instead P&R president Gavin St Pier gave an update at the March States sitting.
The States heard that the review was completed on schedule in December 2018 but the detailed plans were not.
‘Policy & Resources and Health & Social Care are currently finalising an action plan based on a series of recommendations within that report,’ he said at the time.
‘Engagement is taking place with the relevant unions as part of preparing the plan which will be circulated to stakeholders in due course.’
Deputy Jennifer Merrett said she was disappointed by the delays from P&R.
‘When the States of Deliberation agree a proposition that includes a deadline, then it isn’t adhered to, then that raises false hope in our community, in this regard, to our nurses,’ she said.
‘That would clearly impact on the trust that our community has in their government.’
Deputy Merrett said if P&R were concerned about the deadline they could have submitted their own amendment but they did not.
‘Alternatively they could have advised the States and our community at any point if they were struggling to meet the deadline but to leave it until it was actually meant to be delivered and then tell us all, well that is really disappointing and very frustrating,’ she said.
The delays caused by failure to meet the deadline set by the amendment has contributed to nurses having a lack of confidence in the States.
Deputy Merrett said that nurses’ pay and conditions needed to be addressed and said during the last canvassing she spoke to local nurses who were struggling to pay basic living expenses.
‘They are doing exactly what we ask them to do – they are caring for our community, working shifts that most of us may baulk at, but even when working long hours in what is sometimes a demanding environment, they are struggling to pay their bills.’
A pay-rise offer has been made to the Royal College of Nursing this week which RCN senior regional officer Julie Lewers said members were unlikely to accept.
They want a 10% rise.