International nurses day marked by row over pay cap
Nicola Sturgeon defends NHS pay cap at FMQs
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International nurses day in Scotland has been marked with a political row over the public sector pay cap.
A Labour motion in the Scottish Parliament called for the lifting of a one per cent cap on pay rises for nurses but it was defeated after the SNP and Scottish Conservatives voted against.
Earlier this year, the Scottish Government confirmed that the pay increase for NHS staff in Scotland will be capped at one per cent for 2017/18 for those earning over £22,000.
Labour leader Kezia Dugdale pointed to a newspaper report showing a £400m deal with agencies to supply private doctors.
Speaking during First Minister’s Questions, she said: “Our hospitals don’t have enough nurses. Those nurses don’t have enough money in their pocket. Our hospitals don’t have enough doctors. But there’s more than enough money for private health firms.
“This is what the NHS looks like when the SNP is more interested in running a referendum campaign rather than running our health service.”
First minister Nicola Sturgeon said the government was operating in "an extremely tight public spending environment", adding that the one per cent was recommended by an independent pay review body.
"We have taken action to make sure that we are treating workers in our NHS as fairly as possible. Unlike governments elsewhere in the UK, we have targeted low pay,” she said, pointing out starting nurning salaries in Scotland are over £300 more than in England and Labour-run Wales.
Meanwhile, others have been marking the day dedicated to nursing.
Scotland’s chief nursing officer Fiona McQueen said: “Thank you to all Scotland's nurses for being there to improve health and deliver care where ever you are practicing.”
Janet Davies, chief executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Most days they fly under the radar, but Nurses’ Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the incredible work nursing staff do every single day of the year.”
The Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS) highlighted the 20 candidates currently undertaking a programme to become the first in 50 years to be awarded the title of Queen’s Nurse in Scotland – an award for having an impact in communities.
The sectors they work in include district nursing, health visiting, midwifery, education, criminal justice and care homes.
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