NHS nurses working in West Sussex are threatening to protest against their bosses about hiring temporary staff over Christmas.
But the trust the nurses work for has insisted it treats its staff fairly.
In a letter written to the Herald, a nurse who wished to remain anonymous said that they and their colleagues were ‘extremely upset’ that agency nurses were being paid more than them to do the same job, and that a protest would be organised if the pay imbalance was not readdressed.
They said: “We feel our loyalty is being exploited while others can come into the trust and pick up the work that would normally be offered to ourselves and earn more than twice what we can.”
They added: “We do not feel we can tolerate this situation and say nothing as it is very hard working under severe pressure on very busy wards and knowing we keep the community safe for a very small wage compared to others doing a job that we believe we do better.”
Denise Farmer, Director of Organisational Development and Leadership at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said that it was matching agency nurses’ take-home pay for a limited period and guaranteeing them work if they join its temporary staffing pool.
This is in a bid to reduce the money spent on temporary staff, in line with other NHS trusts across the country.
She said that ‘as in any occupation, there is always a difference between rates of pay for temporary and permanent staff’, but that their nurses had a wider range of benefits including more advanced training and progression, sick pay and a better pension.
She added: “However, we do also want to recognise the efforts of members of permanent staff who are able to help us maintain continuity of patient care by working extra shifts during winter and we have in place a range of financial incentives to reward their commitment.”
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