Newly qualified nurses desperate for a job are working for less than the minimum wage, it emerged today.
The County Durham and Darlington NHS foundation trust and North Tees and the Hartlepool NHS trust are offering “honorary” training contracts to some nurses unable to secure other work.
There is no guarantee of a job at the end of the contract, which is being run in conjunction with the University of Teesside.
Aidan Mullan, the director of nursing at the North Tees trust, told today’s Nursing Standard magazine: “We were unable to offer places to every newly qualified nurse who had an interest in working in the trust.
“The [honorary] places were to be supernumerary with the emphasis on development, not on the person being a spare pair of hands.”
But Peter Carter, the general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said trusts were not paying the nurses properly “because they are struggling to balance their books because of NHS deficits”.
He added: “This is yet another example of nurses and ultimately patients having to pay for failures in the system. We are training nurses that are desperately needed, and then not giving them jobs. It is a terrible waste of their skills, it is wrong that they should have to work for free or below the minimum wage.
New nurses work for less than minimum wage