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5 February 2001

SCHOOL NURSES IN NORTHERN IRELAND ‘SHORT CHANGED’ BY ALMOST £3,000

The majority of school nurses in Northern Ireland are being paid nearly £3,000 a year less than their counterparts in the rest of the UK.

The Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association (CPHVA), which represents most of Northern Ireland’s 100 school nurses, described the situation as "grossly unfair".

School nurses from across Northern Ireland are holding a campaign meeting in Belfast tomorrow (6 February) to map out tactics to eradicate this anomaly, which has come about for historical reasons.

The aim is for the ten Community Health and Social Services trusts to upgrade school nurses from Grade E on the national pay scales to Grade F – the scale that their counterparts in the UK currently enjoy. Only a very few school nurses in Northern Ireland are on Grade F.

From 1 April 2001, the top of Grade E scale will be £19,935 and Grade F £22,865. Some school nurses in England are already on Grade G, giving a top salary of £25,420 from this April.

The CPHVA wants all school nurses to be on Grade G throughout the UK once they have have completed the specialist practitioner course.

The CPHVA’s Professional Officer for Northern Ireland Breige Coyle said: "Our school nurse members are being short changed by nearly £3,000 a year which is unjust. We are campaigning for an upgrade to Grade F, in the first instance, for all school nurses in Northern Ireland as they carry out comparable jobs to their colleagues in England, Scotland and Wales."

The CPHVA’s Professional Officer for School Nursing and Public Health, Pat Jackson said: "The disparity in pay has come about as Northern Ireland has always lagged behind in terms of training and development of school nurses. The pay divide is growing wider which has serious implications in terms of recruitment and retention at a time when government is placing a greater emphasis on public health."

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NOTE TO NEWS EDITORS

For further information, please contact:

Breige Coyle ( 07968 451 911 (mobile)

Colin Adkins MSF NHS researcher ( (020) 7939 7045

Pat Jackson ( 0498 531 027 (mobile)

Shaun Noble Press Officer ( (020) 7939 7043

mobile ( 07768 69 39 40

CPHVA press releases can be seen on the CPHVA web site: www.msfcphva.org

The CPHVA is an autonomous professional section of the Manufacturing, Science and Finance union. The CPHVA represents 18,000 health visitors, school nurses, practice nurses and registered nurses working in the community in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.


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