England:RCN chief condemns attitude that nurses should accept whatever they are given


  • Home Health Columnist / Guide
    Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 46 years experience.

From: Royal College of Nursing (RCN), Nursing Standard website- no date, posted this week.

Stop treating us like 'nice little girls', says Malone

By Adele Waters


RCN general secretary Beverly Malone last week accused the health service of treating nurses like 'quiet and nice little girls' who should accept whatever they are given.

Speaking about the Agenda for Change talks on a new pay and grading system for the NHS, she said it is now time for nurses to be valued properly.

'The system doesn't value us,' she said. 'There are still a lot of old cultural, traditional ways of looking at nursing - there are people who say "now you little girls take whatever we give you and be quiet and nice".

'That is as inappropriate as the day is long. I think it is to do with being a predominantly female profession,' Dr Malone said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

'The government has been very accommodating to select groups of healthcare providers such as consultants and GPs - but what about nurses?

'Nurses are working incredibly hard, they are going way beyond the roles they originally did and they are not being adequately rewarded. The government needs to do something that symbolises its commitment to nursing.'

As the Agenda for Change talks continued last week, unions, NHS managers and civil servants agreed to draw up a communications strategy to keep staff informed on how negotiations are proceeding. Recent weeks have seen a series of leaks that union negotiators have seen as unhelpful and in some cases inaccurate.

Among the issues currently being discussed is the level of on-call payments made to midwives. They currently receive £10 for providing 12 hours cover and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is demanding a substantial increase.

'It is one of the reasons why midwives leave - if you are working 37.5 hours a week plus overtime and on-call, the on-call pressures can become intolerable,' said RCM director of employment relations Jon Skewes.

The Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association (CPHVA) wants to level out the pay of school nurses with that of health visitors, so that as many as possible are employed on at least grade G. CPHVA researcher Colin Adkins said: 'The competencies of school nurses are the same as for health visitors but traditionally they have been placed on lower grades.

'We want to make sure school nurses are on the right rate before the new pay system kicks in.'


2,099 Posts

Specializes in Corrections, Psych, Med-Surg. Has 15 years experience.

Things seem to be much the same in this regard on both sides of the pond. Except we seem to have no Beverly Malone to stick up for us.


1 Article; 5,758 Posts

I think I read an article somewhere that stated Beverly Malone is a USA born and educated nurse. If I remember what I read correctly that fact does not sit well with all the nurses over in the UK. Not that I would blame them because sometimes it makes you mad when an orginization can't seemed to find someone to promote from within the system. Especially when there are plenty of qualified candidates around.


346 Posts

Specializes in burn, geriatric, rehab, wound care, ER. Has 25 years experience.

From what I remember of the RCN, I say what goes around comes around. When a union refuses to even consider strike action, no wonder they have no leverage with the NHS. So stop behaving like nice little girls, start behaving like strong women and consider some labor action. In the words of sjoe, you will get exactly as much crap as you will take.


837 Posts

The RCN dropped the no-strike clause in the Royal Charter almost 10 years ago. Beverly Malone is not only an American, She was a senior member of the ANA, and an advisor to the Clinton Govt. Health team.


346 Posts

Specializes in burn, geriatric, rehab, wound care, ER. Has 25 years experience.

donmurray- well its been >10 yrs since I've been away, so I'm a bit out of touch. However I did have my sister send me over a couple of nursing mags last week, so I could catch up a bit.

So what's the general feeling of nurses over there at the moment - any talk of labor action? Do you think that you might have the leverage that the US nurses seem to have (e.g. UCLA nurses), considering the retention and recruitment problems? My mum tells me that it's pretty bad in Scotland.


837 Posts

The "Agenda for Change " negotiations stagger on, the timetable keeps slipping as the govt. realise how much it will cost to implement this new job evaluation system. With govt. "leaks" of decisions not yet agreed, and a pay offer floated of 10% over 3 yrs..the usual Thatcherite/Blairite stuff really. Were you here for "Clinical Grading"?...there are still 6 appeals outstanding from that! (1987/88). It gets complicated as this will only apply to England. Scotland and Wales being independent Health-wise. The feverish apathy seems to have broken, and nurses seem slowly to be motivating themselves, but it is early days. The AfC will have to deliver, and everyone is getting impatient.

Not living in Scotland, my impression is that Nursing and nurses have a higher profile politically than here in England, but have yet to benefit from this.


405 Posts

Beverly Malone was the President of the ANA at one time.

This topic is now closed to further replies.