Promise of high salaries for supernurses is little more than a red herring

At the top of the Blackpool tower there is a glass platform strong enough to support several elephants. From it, brave tourists can enjoy an unrivalled view of the ground 500ft below.

The glass ceiling in nursing is proving to be every bit as tough as this attraction.

To much excitement in the profession, ministers promised that the new 'supernurses' would smash through the glass ceiling, with higher status and higher salaries to match.

The reality is that trusts are appointing nurse consultants - but their salaries differ very little from those of I-grade nurses. The problem is that nurse consultants can only move four points along a scale. If they start at the lower end, they are unlikely ever to hit the top. In defence of this situation it has been argued that the posts retain a clinical focus and more senior posts may be developed later. So that's all right, then.

Well, no. It is hard to imagine anybody telling doctors, or any profession dominated by men, that lowish starting wages mean they should not expect higher rewards later.

It is also hard to imagine doctors, or any profession dominated by men, being told that they should accept the situation because they are being allowed to 'do what they love' - unhindered by that complicated management stuff.

It is about time mainly female professions were thought of equally. It is about time top nurses were recognised for what they do - and paid properly.

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