In an RCN podcast, head of policy Howard Catton and senior employment relations adviser Gerry O'Dwyer said that to avoid large-scale job cuts and pay reductions, the nursing profession would have to tie itself to the quality agenda.
Speaking in the podcast, Mr Catton said ‘pay for performance' and ‘pay awards linked to demonstrable improvements in patient outcomes' would have to be looked at.
He said individual pay should not be linked to performance but teams of nurses could benefit if they cut costs and improved patient outcomes.
Nursing was usually at the forefront of quality improvements but currently others take the credit and cash, he added.
Mr Catton told Healthcare Republic that practice nurses may benefit the most from such a change but GPs were likely to be reluctant to implement it.
‘But if we can introduce this change and principles in the areas that we can then I think we shouldn't underestimate the power of starting a cultural change,' he said.
Mr O'Dwyer told Healthcare Republic that NHS Employers had raised the idea of linking pay with productivity, even before talk of a £15-20bn NHS funding shortfall.
- Read next week's Independent Nurse dated 21 September for the full version of this story.