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Low wages causing nurses to leave the profession

NURSES are being forced to leave the profession because they cannot afford to buy a home, a new report calling for ministers to give health workers a decent wage has warned. 

In the past decade, house prices have increased six times faster than nurses’ wages, making their chances of getting on the property ladder “almost inconceivable,” researchers found. 

Nurses’ union RCN, which commissioned the report by London Economic, said that the 1 per cent pay “insult” offered by the government “won’t come close to remedying the suppression of nursing salaries over the past 10 years.”

The average cost of a home in Britain has increased by 55 per cent, up from £165,600 in 2011 to £256,400 today. In contrast, nurses’ pay in England has risen by just 9 per cent, or £2,900. 

One nurse based in Liverpool told the RCN that a mortgage broker “laughed in her face” when she said she wanted to buy a house.

RCN committee chair Graham Revie said: “The government needs to tip the scales in nursing’s favour to stop this injustice.”

With inflation rising above 1 per cent, Mr Revie said that the 1 per cent pay rise on offer was “officially a pay cut.” 

The offer, announced in March, was described as a “kick in the teeth” for nurses after a year battling on the front line of the pandemic. 

“It is hard to imagine a profession that contributes so much to the health and wellbeing of the nation being valued so poorly,” Dr Gavan Conlon, one of the report authors, said.

The NHS Pay Review Body is due to make a recommendation on pay soon. The RCN is calling for an immediate 12.5 per cent pay rise for all nursing staff in Britain. 

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