PUBLIC SECT0R: Nursing College to press for pay reform

The Royal College of Nursing is to launch a PR and lobbying push calling for reform of nurses' pay.

The campaign launches this month as the party conference season gets underway and comes ahead of an expected conclusion of the Government's review of NHS pay, called Agenda for Change.

Amanda Callaghan, the RCN's recently appointed acting head of public affairs, is spearheading the lobbying side of the campaign. She said the RCN wants any reform to ensure equality of pay for nurses.

She said: 'What is happening is a nurse can do exactly the same job as another health professional, radiology or physiotherapy for example but get paid less because they are on a different pay scale. We want the pay to be for the job not the title.'

On the lobbying side fringe meetings will be held at all conferences, starting with the Liberal Democrat's event which opens this weekend. Alun Milburn, health secretary, has already agreed to attend the Labour conference meeting.

Further lobbying work will follow, including negotiation with the Department of Health on the issue. A media relations campaign, aimed at gathering widespread public support for pay reform will also launch.

By the end of the month the RCN is hoping to have recruited a PRO on a six-month contract to specifically handle this campaign, liaising with both nurses and the media.

The Government was criticised by the RCN earlier this year for taking too long to complete the review, discussions on which were opened three years ago.

A DoH spokesperson said it is hoped that an agreement can be reached on reforming pay within the next few months. Any reformed pay structured will then be piloted in, 'selected test sites by the end of this financial year,' the spokesperson added.

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