Nursing in Practice Autumn 2021 (issue 121) - Page 4

4 NURSING IN PRACTICE SURVEY

Nine in 10 practice nurses want standardised contracts

The overwhelming majority of nurses want nationally standardised contracts , with many frustrated they have lower terms and conditions than NHS colleagues , a Nursing in Practice survey has found .
The poll of 210 UK nurses , ANPs and nurse practitioners reveals 93 % think their contracts should be standardised . Many want their hourly pay , and entitlements for sickness , maternity and holiday pay to match NHS colleagues on Agenda for Change ( AfC ) contracts .
The poll , which ran between 27 August and 3 September , revealed 34 % do not get occupational sick pay and must survive on statutory sick pay of just £ 96.35 a week if ill – or self-isolating because of Covid-19 . More than half ( 53 %) get no maternity pay at all .
Practices ‘ can get away with paying the bare minimum ’ as contracts are not standardised , a GPN based in the East Midlands argued . Another in the North West stated : ‘ Some GPs do not value GPNs and you ’ re at the mercy of that .’
A GPN in the South West deemed it ‘ totally unfair ’ that her annual leave and sick pay entitlement ‘ is less than hospital colleagues ’. Another in the East Midlands agreed : ‘ If [ practice ] nurses can be added to AfC terms and conditions then we would be happy .’
The median hourly rate of pay was £ 18.44 for the 164 GPNs who answered the question , with a low of £ 13 and high of £ 24 . For 25 nurse practitioners and ANPs , median hourly pay was £ 23 , ranging from £ 18.60 to £ 50 . Only 8 % of respondents said their pay matched AfC .
Many felt undervalued , with one GPN in the east of England saying pay , terms and conditions were ‘ awful , low and do not reflect the work we do ’. Another in the South West agreed : ‘ Underpaid for what we do and how much is expected from us .’
Nurses also believe their poor pay and conditions has left practices struggling with recruitment and retention . One GPN based in the West Midlands said : ‘ NHS terms and conditions are needed to prevent issues with recruitment .’ Another in the North West argued the sector is ‘ not able to attract new staff ’ for this reason . The survey found seven in 10 had not received a bonus this year ; for those who had , they ranged from £ 100 to £ 900 . Some were given as an increase to the hourly rate ( between 20p and £ 3 extra an hour was reported in this survey ). And three-quarters of nurses said their bonuses were discretionary , not automatic .
For those receiving annual paid leave , entitlements ranged widely , from just 22 days to 41 days . Maternity pay , where given , was reported as between six and 12 weeks ’ full pay .
Annual salary increments were included in the contracts of just 6 % of nurses , while only 13 % of respondents said their practice paid their compulsory £ 120 NMC annual registration fee .
Practice nurse contracts are made with the employing GP , leading to variation between , and even within , practices . In contrast , non-medical NHS staff are on standardised AfC contracts .
Nurses on AfC contracts receive 35 days ’ holiday pay a year for the first five years of service , 37 days between five and 10 years , and 41 days thereafter . Maternity leave offers eight weeks on full pay and 18 on half pay . They also have pay progression built into the contracts .
By Mimi Launder
Survey results
Key Yes No
Do you think practice nurse contracts should be standardised nationally ?
Do you get occupational sick pay ?
Are you on the Agenda for Change pay scale ?
Do you get maternity pay ?
7 %
93 %
66 %
8 %
47 %
34 %
92 %
53 %
GETTY nursinginpractice . com Autumn 2021