NHS nurses urged to go on strike over pay

18 Oct 2022

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has urged all UK members to engage in strike action in November.

The strike is expected to be predominantly regarding pay. The RCN has commissioned research showing average nurses' pay had fallen by 6% between 2011 and 2021 once inflation had been taken into account, according to the union.

The British Association of Cosmetic Nurses (BACN) has seen a growth in nurses in recent years, with 1,200 additional nurses from just over 700 in 2018 – a 71% increase in four years.

Aesthetic nurse and chair of the Aesthetics Clinical Advisory Board, Sharon Bennett, said, “It saddens me to see so many nurses unhappy within their roles in the NHS. Although the mainstream news tends to focus mostly on pay, I know it’s not just about this but also about nurse workload and working conditions.

“With the combination of these factors, I know that a lot of nurses are choosing to work part-time in the NHS or leave altogether to go into new careers full-time. They are choosing to work in areas such as medical aesthetics, dermatology or even private midwifery, hoping to give themselves a better work-life balance, better working environments, more flexibility and greater financial gains.

“We have seen a large increase in British Association of Cosmetic Nurses (BACN) members in the past year, which has been excellent. This has been partly due to NHS nurses venturing into the aesthetics industry, but we are also seeing people choosing to go into nursing purely to become medical aesthetic practitioners, and this too will clearly have an impact on the NHS.

“We do believe that two-three years of working post-qualification within the NHS is essential prior to working fully in medical aesthetic practice. This enables experience in assessment and diagnoses, alongside more broad competence in all areas of nursing practice. There is so much more to learn post-qualification in patient care and nursing development. Even aligning with a certain specialty such as dermatology, tissue viability or plastic surgery can give new nurses so much insight and knowledge relevant to medical aesthetics today.

For the aesthetics specialty, this highlights the importance of a distinct medical career path for individuals hoping to get into this field which will help them in their new career pathway.”

If the strike goes ahead, the RCN has said it would affect non-urgent but not emergency care.  

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