THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF NURSING (RCN) in Wales have been left feeling "let down" by the Welsh Government's recent announcement of a pay settlement with the British Medical Association (BMA) and doctors in Wales. 

The announcement was made just days after First Minister Vaughan Gething attended his first RCN conference in Newport. 

Responding on Friday, June 7,  to the news, Helen Whyley, Executive Director of Royal College of Nursing Wales said:  “All NHS workers deserve a proper pay rise, but nursing staff are still waiting at the back of the queue.  They feel let down and misled by this government.

“The repeated firm position from the Welsh government that there was no money in the pot for NHS nursing staff salaries was either untrue or demonstrates that they can’t manage their finances.

"Either way it shows a total disregard to principle of equity of approach to NHS negotiations.”  

“Actions speak louder than words. This announcement comes only days after the First Minister opened our annual RCN Congress on home soil in Newport, speaking of his unwavering support for nursing staff.

"It shows his government support is merely hot air and no real commitment. His government have failed to fulfil the promises made to nurses in last year’s pay award and now they add insult to that injury by substantially increasing only the doctors’ pay award for 2023/24.”

She added:  “Congress saw the RCN launch its general election manifesto, with the leading priority being a substantial pay rise for all nursing staff.  The nursing workforce highlighted inadequate staffing levels, treating patients in corridors, limited or no access to continuing professional development and the increased demands of delivering patient care.

"All of these pressures lead to severe moral distress, leading to an increase in nursing staff so overwhelmed with pressure from work that they even considered taking their own lives. This is unacceptable.  

 “All health care staff deserve to be paid fairly and be recognised for the safety critical work that they do.

"Our members will be deeply discouraged to hear that their sacrifices and unrelenting efforts during the RCN Wales pay campaign in Wales has been cast aside by Welsh government. 

“We will be urgently raising this with the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care and the First Minister urging them to address fair pay for nursing now.”