Posted by: madkentdragon | October 6, 2013


For the want of a penny a nurse was lost,

For the want of a nurse a ward was lost,

For the want of a ward LIVES WERE LOST?


Hang on you say, it wasn’t one penny it was one percent, but I remind you 1% of £1 is a penny – so nurses are having the promised 1p per £ per hour raise removed. I think you get where I’m coming from.

It is said that the National Health can’t afford it – but why can’t they afford it – well I can find one of the main reasons without doing complicated research, algorithms and much head scratching by civil servants.

The cost of living is rising, we all know this – we all have to dig deeper into purses or pockets to meet the basic necessities of life; nurses are no different – but the do have an escape – a way to earn more, but it costs the NHS more. Most nurses I’ve met – and I’ve met quite a few in my 65 years, are dedicated to the National Health Service and struggle to live within its pay boundaries.

This promised extra penny per pound could have meant the difference to paying the rent or mortgage without juggling other bills – or even knowing next time their child asks to go on a school trip being able to say yes, because that little extra money could be saved towards the expense.

Without this extra money, the often messy job with long hours looks less tempting than the nursing agencies who pay more and give you some lee-way in the hours you work. More money, working round school hours, so less expensive child care and you all ready have the necessary qualifications and experience – Bingo! And off another nurse trots to an agency.

I Googled the rates of pay for agency nurses and NHS nurses and found the following! Band 5 for an ordinary nurse starts at £21,388. on this agency nurses can earn up to £6,000 a month! 

OK, I will admit that this was the first link showing on the page and rates can vary – but it’s not just how much more a nurse can earn on these agencies – it’s the costs, like agency fees – that are added to these rates of pay, and this is what the NHS pays and it’s a lot more than the average NHS nurse gets paid.

But what this shows is that for every undervalued nurse who leaves the NHS and joins an agency, the cost is more than doubled by replacing her with an agency nurse.

Now you know where the money is going, sorry nurses, the NHS don’t seem to care enough about you to pay that measly pay rise.

But one question I’d like to ask the government – what happens when the last NHS nurse leaves – are you really trying to kill off the National Health Service, because you have just stuck another dagger in its back!



  1. So well put Pat. When my wife was temping at a hospital – she was a receptionist – the agency nurses outnumbered the NHS ones. The pay difference is quite correct so as you so rightly ask why does’nt the GOVERNMENT/NHS pay the nurses what they pay the AGENCIES for their services? They keep saying they cannot afford the NHS increases BUT if the agencies are paying the nurses 6,000 a month the GOVERNMENT/NHS is paying them between 1/4 and 1/2 again on top. Think its time the people who run the NHS should be shoved out, agencies not used and the nursing staff offered the same pay and conditions they would get from an agency then the NHS might just work.

  2. Belatedly came across this post. The problem is the politicians can’t be trusted to manage the NHS because in its current form it’s essentially unmanageable but the electorate see it as a sacred cow that can’t be touched. So just as in catch 22, it will continue to produce horror stories like this one about the poor treatment of front line staff and wastage alongside the usual daily reports about one else thing or other because the necessary root and branch reform and rebuilding from the ground up will never happen.

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