Kilburn nursing expert pledges to continue fight for ‘justice and equality’ in pay dispute
PUBLISHED: 15:26 29 August 2017 | UPDATED: 15:57 31 August 2017
The president of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has called on the government to end the bitter pay dispute ahead of a rally planned next week.
Cecilia Anim CBE, who lives in Kilburn and has worked within the NHS for 40 years, says the nursing situation in Brent and across London has reached crisis point and is affecting patient care.
Nurses are holding a rally alongisde union members across the country as part of their #scrapthecap campaign in Parliament Square on Wednesday next week.
She told the Brent&Kilburn Times: “Nursing staff are working harder than ever but they are completely overstretched.
“Unless the government scraps the pay cap and gives nurses a fair pay rise, the future of health care in Brent will be in real danger.”
There are now 13,000 unfulfilled nursing posts in London with many nurses forced to give up their profession or move away as they are unable to afford to live in London on their salaries.
The RCN released a report in May which found that trusts in North West London had the second worst vacancy rate in the country at 15.8 per cent with 1,816 vacancies.
The vacancy rate refers to the percentage of roles available that should be filled.
The government have been restraining nurses pay since 2010 and nurses are now 14 per cent worse off than seven years ago. according to RCN, with each nurse effectively losing £3,000 from their pay packet.
In June, politicians voted against scrapping the cap on public sector pay. “These cuts and caps have caused hardship for all of us and in 40 years I have never seen the NHS like this. Enough is enough,” she said.
“I am an activist. It is in my blood to fight for justice and equality. We aren’t lying down. We will continue to stand up and force the government to listen,” Ms Anim said.
In 2014 Ms Anim become president of the RCN, the first BME representative in the organisation’s 99 year history. She was awarded a CBE this February for services to sexual health nursing.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “The Secretary of State has made it clear that the support and welfare of NHS staff is a top priority, as they do a fantastic job; the government is committed to ensuring they can continue to deliver world-class patient care.”