Only 12% of registered nurses in Guernsey are currently satisfied with their pay, with the island lagging behind Jersey in attracting workers.
The Royal College of Nursing's Regional Director for the South East, Lindsay Meeks, has warned that the island is not doing enough to attract nurses amid a dispute over pay with the States of Guernsey.
Following news that nurses had rejected a pay offer from the States, Ms Meeks said that many "negative comments" had been made about RCN members, causing them "disappointment and distress".
"It is an indisputable fact that there is a worldwide shortage of registered nurses. In the UK alone there are more than 40,000 vacancies and rising," she said. "In this economy, Guernsey needs to work hard to recruit and retain nurses, both local and off island, and one vehicle for this is pay.
"In the 2017 pay negotiations, after a great deal of pressure, the States agreed a review of full nurses terms and conditions and appointed Dean Royles to complete this. He produced a full and considered report in late 2018. The RCN hasn’t asked the cost of this review to the Guernsey taxpayer but I think it would be fair to believe it cannot have been cheap.
"The review was to be presented to the States Assembly with a full list of recommendations by the end of March 2019. To date, the RCN has merely received an ‘action plan’ and we have already expressed our dissatisfaction with this.
"Nurses are deeply saddened that a report they invested in has effectively been dismissed and disregarded by P&R with many of the key recommendations either ignored or kicked down the dirt track to be looked at later in the year, if at all. This debacle has further left Guernsey nurses feeling undervalued and demoralised but also extremely angry due to promises not kept."
As part of plans to modernise the PEH, staff change facilities will be refurbished and improved.
That report, she said, highlighted how few nurses are happy with their pay package.
"Nursing pay may look attractive with additional bonuses and rent allowance added in, but when these stop or you are a ‘local’ nurse who doesn’t receive any of this, then rent, food, childcare, healthcare bills pile up to make living and working on the Island unsustainable. This has to be a false economy when one considers the cost of overtime and agency rates that need to be paid just to keep the wards and community staffed and patients’ safe."
Ms Meeks said that Guernsey is a beautiful place to work: "Just pay Guernsey nurses a fair wage and the island should thrive,' she said, as she drew comparison to the larger Channel Island.
"The States of Jersey have just realised this with their recent commitment that Jersey nurses should have pay parity for jobs in health by the end of the year. It is inevitable that this decision that values nurses will improve recruitment and retention on Jersey.
"Guernsey nurses aren’t greedy. They are simply seeking equal pay for work of equal value with other professions on the Island as well as the Allied Health Professionals working with them on the wards paid on established rates. It cannot be right and fair that two professionals doing similar jobs get paid so differently.
"This is something Guernsey nurses have endured for many years and they now believe it is time to say to the States of Guernsey that enough is enough! Guernsey nurses have waited too long for pay parity and equity and this needs sorting out now."
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