Guernsey nurses' 'patience running out' in pay dispute

Nurses protesting in St Peter Port Image copyright Paul Chambers Photography
Image caption Nurses held a protest over pay on the seafront in St Peter Port.

A dispute over nurses' pay risks becoming a strike, Guernsey's senior health politician has said.

President of Health & Social Care Heidi Soulsby warned strikes could lead to the suspension of elective medical care affecting the "most vulnerable".

Deputy Soulsby called for "tangible action" from the island's senior Policy & Resources Committee (P&R).

Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq from P&R blamed delays on unions rejecting an above inflation increase.

Image caption Industrial action could lead to a reduction in community nursing

Deputy Soulsby said that the ongoing dispute was causing "considerable concern" for her committee.

She said a deal is "vital" to maintain staff morale and "patience is rapidly running out".

"The effective provision of heath and care services... is dependent upon the expertise, enthusiasm and commitment of staff."

Strikes could lead to a reduction in community nursing, which would affect the care for the "most vulnerable within [the] community", she added.

Deputy Le Tocq said P&R, which is leading pay negotiations, was committed to the policy objective of "equal pay for work of equal value".

"However, this commitment applies to all staff across the States of Guernsey and cannot be taken in isolation for one group," he added.

According to Deputy Le Tocq, the 5% pay offer is "significantly above" the 2.8% required to match inflation, as well as higher than comparable offers made to other government employees.

He said delays were a result of two of the four nursing unions rejecting the offer, with the Royal College of Nursing failing to ballot members.

Members of the Unite and Prospect unions have accepted the offer, while the Royal College of Medicine rejected it after consultation.

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