The largest nursing union in the world has launched a campaign to highlight the exploitation of nurses’ goodwill as they work nearly FOUR HOURS overtime each week.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) launched the Excess Hours campaign on Monday (February 2), across England and Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust (CLCH), which provides community and inpatient services across Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster and Barnet.
The campaign comes just a week after the union called for the hospital trust running hospitals in the area to stop changes which have included the closure of Hammersmith Hospital's A&E.
RCN research shows nursing staff across the country each work on average 3.7 hours in UNPAID overtime every week. Nurses working for CLCH work at 70 sites across west and north London.
In a direct attack on the state of the NHS under the coalition government, the union - the largest nursing union in the world - is looking for staff to be properly compensated for the hours they work when they stay beyond their shift or through breaks to ensure patients are properly cared for.
All NHS staff have a contractual right to claim time off in lieu or payment for actual hours worked so the RCN is providing materials and support for members to claim these.
Ian Norris, RCN council member and RCN London board chair, said: “London nursing staff feel let down by the Government’s attacks on their pay and conditions. Over the past five years NHS staff have cared for record numbers of patients through a disruptive reorganisation and in the face of huge workforce cuts.
“Nurses and healthcare assistants work long and stressful days with very few taking their breaks and most having to work far beyond their contracted hours without recompense.
“The Government cannot keep demanding more for less and just rely on the goodwill of nursing staff to keep the health service going. It is time for nurses to get paid what they’re worth.”
Drop-in sessions for members with RCN representatives at CLCH will be held over the coming weeks as the campaign goes ahead.