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Wednesday, 4 October, 2000, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
Most NHS nurses 'consider quitting'
One in three NHS nurses take a second job to boost pay
Eight out of 10 nurses have considered leaving their NHS jobs because of either low morale and poor pay, according to a survey.

Figures published by the public service union Unison also show that one in three NHS nurses have taken on a second job to get extra money.

The survey of 3,500 nurses found that among nurses who had considered leaving their job, 87% cited feeling undervalued as their main reason for quitting, and 60% blamed low pay.

Less than a third of nurses would now recommend the profession as a career, a drop of 4% on last year.

Our survey reveals a committed workforce, but is shows them under more pressure

Gail Adams, Unison

And 40% say the quality of care they are able to offer to patients has fallen in the past year.

Almost two thirds said there hospitals suffered from frequent staff shortages, while demand from patients has increased.

Unison has submitted the results of the poll to the Independent Pay Review Body as part of its claim for substantial pay rises for nurses.

The Review Body is expected to make recommendations on nurses' pay to ministers early next year.

Pay hike

The union has called especially for nurses in the lowest grades to be given substantial pay hikes.

They are looking for nurses' starting salaries to be increased from the current 9,000 per year to 9,980. They want this to rise to 12,135 after three years.

Gail Adams, chairman of Unison's nursing sector said: "Last year the pay review body responded positively to our arguments about the need to stop experienced nurses leaving the health service by giving them a pay boost."

"The lowest paid missed out last year, and we cannot afford to let that happen again this year or we risk losing them."

She added: "Our survey reveals a committed workforce, but is shows them under more pressure, especially those on the front line.

"We welcome the Government's expansion of the nursing workforce but we have to ensure that we don't end up with nurses coming in one door and going out the other."

Another survey found wide differences in the amount top-of-the-scale "nurse consultants" are paid across the country and within different specialities.

A study by Health Service Report found that consultant nurses in the Eastern NHS region are paid almost 5,000 more on average than staff in the North West.

Consultant nurses working in critical care in hospitals can expect a minimum average wage of 33,371, more than 2,000 more than those working in mental health.

The new grade of consultant nurse was introduced by ministers in an effort to reward experience and skills with increased responsibility and better pay.

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28 Sep 00 | Health
Cost of nurses soars
18 Sep 00 | Health
Nurses to get NHS bonus
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