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NHS 'should drop national pay agreements' – report

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 10, 2012

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National pay agreements for NHS staff should be dropped and each healthcare organisation be allowed to negotiate its own deal with employees, a report has recommended.

Reform, a centre-right think-tank, said the change would allow hospitals to reward good performance, introduce innovative working practices and improve care for patients by dealing with staff who are under-performing.

It would also allow trusts to take advantage of the expected surplus of doctors in the UK to "drive down pay" and review the hierarchy of medical ranks in hospitals, it said.

The report entitled Doctors and Nurses warned pay freezes prevent employers from using their discretion to change working practices or incentivise good performance.

Nick Seddon, deputy director of Reform, said that the current pay arrangements were undermining Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt's goal of improving quality and efficiency in the NHS.

"There is a glaring contradiction between his goal of a higher quality NHS and his Department's support for national pay arrangements."

Reform said ministers should offer their "full support" for NHS organisations challenging national pay bargaining, such as the group of 20 trusts in the South West which have formed their own consortium to consider breaking away from the national framework.

Public sector union Unison said that breaking up national pay, terms and conditions would "do nothing to improve patient care but would cause massive industrial unrest across the NHS". Unison head of health Christina McAnea said: "Reform's report is writing the wrong prescription for NHS pay.

"It ignores the fact that Agenda for Change has a proven track record of delivering fairness and for keeping the industrial peace across the NHS.

"However, the South West cartel's proposals go much further and are standing in the way of reaching a national agreement that would benefit patients and staff alike."

Jim Clawson, chair of Unison Devon area health forum, criticised the report as "very short on evidence".

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "Reaching a swift and successful conclusion in these national negotiations will significantly reduce the need for separate, local deals."

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  • eu_blues  |  November 12 2012, 10:05PM

    What's happening in Athens will happen here. twain1 I agree.

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  • www.thecornmarketgallery.com  |  November 12 2012, 12:51PM

    Great comment sweeney 2010 I totally agree xx

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  • Stork  |  November 12 2012, 12:07PM

    I've visited quite a number of Hospital Authorities. There's usually few Doctors and Nurses, and loads of administrators. I've gone behind the scenes at Health Authority offices and seen how much red tape there is with audits and planning etc. And then of course, every so often, someone says, " we need to re-organise and plan for the future", as if all the other re-organisations were irrelevant !

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  • nick113  |  November 12 2012, 11:34AM

    The cost of living, housing, etc, varies widely across the country. Likewise the supply of staff. The question is why should there be national pay agreements in the first place? There are many excellent people working hard within the NHS, but they are held back by neanderthal unions and dreadful bureaucracy. Urgent change is needed to make the NHS fit for the next decade.

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  • unhappysteveo  |  November 12 2012, 1:09AM

    'reform' = less pay

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  • twain1  |  November 11 2012, 10:51PM

    It's probably impossible to do more to undermine morale in Cornwall's NHS. We all know it's the beginning of the end of the NHS. The NHS was envied across the world, now it is being thrown to the dogs. We all know this is part of the 'austerity' package. We know who triggered austerity, politicians and bankers. We all know who's paying for the 'mistakes', us. The CEOs will get their 20 pieces of silver (except for Watkinson who stood for us) for selling us out. What's happening in Athens will happen here. We stand united or divided. Support the NHS, our finest institution, because if you don't, you will be next.

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  • josdave  |  November 11 2012, 4:32PM

    Not only will this stupid idea lower the morale mof workers in the public sector it will reduce the amount of money going into the local economy and so make the region poorer. It will also lead to some workers leaving here and going to where the wages for the same job are higher. Whoever dreamt this up is completely out of touch with the real world and should be sacked.

    |   18
  • Mosieboy  |  November 10 2012, 9:59PM

    Here in the Southwest we already have the highest differentials between house prices and average wages. Whilst our children can't earn sufficient to get a mortgage people are buying another holiday/investment homes with this years capital city workers bonus. Resist this nasty manouvre at all costs.

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  • Mustafachat  |  November 10 2012, 8:21PM

    Why do we even contemplate treating our wonderful nurses and staff with such contempt, to even consider it is a national disgrace. Every day something like this comes up and I detest our MASTERS more and more. Never been a time in my life when things have been so BAD, all driven by greed.

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  • Sinjis_Things  |  November 10 2012, 4:11PM

    In other words get ready for privatisation. The inefficient under performing staff in hospitals are called administrators.

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