South West NHS bosses planning to opt out of national pay agreements have denied that the Chancellor’s commitment to national deals, announced in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement, scuppers their plans.
A consortium of 19 NHS Trusts across the West are considering bringing in regional pay term and say it is the only way to make necessary savings and save jobs.
The scheme, which has been condemned by unions and MPs as a postcode pay lottery, with health minister Daniel Poulter labelling the consortium “heavy-handed”.
The Royal College of Nursing said yesterday the Chancellor’s statement was a “firm commitment to national terms and conditions for NHS staff” and called on the trusts to rebuild relationships with “hard-working staff”.
But Chris Bown, chairman of the consortium, said: “Existing legislation permits NHS trusts freedoms in how pay, terms and conditions are arranged at a local level. The South West pay, terms and conditions consortium was established to explore ways in which these existing freedoms may be used to support sustainability in services and employment in the face of unprecedented challenges.”
Jeannett Martin, regional director for the RCN, said: “We believe that those trusts who have bought into the consortium are left with no choice but to formally withdraw. Only by working with staff can employers begin to address their financial problems and provide a safe, quality service to patients.”