Unions and NHS Employers agree changes to NHS staff terms and conditions

Nurse taking notes

26 / 2 / 2013 Midnight

At a meeting of the NHS Staff Council today (26 February) unions and the NHS Employers organisation agreed amendments to the Agenda for Change pay and rewards framework, which covers the employment contracts of almost a million NHS staff in England.

The changes were proposed by NHS Employers and come into effect on 31 March 2013. 

They will give local employers more flexibility to make a stronger link between an individual's pay progression and their contribution to delivering high quality patient care. There will also be an adjustment to the way sick pay is calculated so unsocial hours enhancements are not paid to most staff when absent due to sickness.

Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation said:

"These changes represent a significant development. The revisions ensure the national pay framework is being responsive to the needs of the service, supporting compassionate patient care and improving job security. The negotiations have been understandably challenging, coming as they do on the back of industrial action, changes to pension schemes and a significant reorganisation of the NHS.

"The National NHS Staff Council has been a useful forum to discuss these issues and is listening to the needs of the service. It has been a productive exercise in partnership working. 

"This deal will increase the health service's confidence in the usefulness of the national pay arrangements, which continue to help the NHS support and manage an effective workforce.

"Today's agreement marks the first step of making these changes a reality. Employers and staff will now be working through the changes in partnership to introduce them locally."

The agreed changes to the contract are:

  • Progression through all incremental pay points in all pay bands to be conditional on individuals demonstrating that they meet locally agreed performance requirements in line with a proposed new Annex addition to the handbook. 
  • For staff in bands 8C, 8D and 9, pay progression into the last two points in a band will become annually earned, and only retained where the appropriate local level of performance is reached in a given year. 
  • The removal of accelerated pay progression associated with preceptorship for staff joining pay band 5 as new entrants. 
  • The scope to put in place alternative, non Agenda for Change, pay arrangements for Band 8C and above. 
  • New guidance on the principles to be followed regarding workforce re-profiling, including the need to follow the processes set out in the NHS Job Evaluation Handbook and the application of local organisational change policies to protect staff in cases of staff redeployment into lower grade posts. 
  • Pay during sickness absence will be paid at basic salary level - not including any allowance or payments linked to working patterns or additional work commitments. This change will not apply to staff who are paid on spine points 1 - 8 of Agenda for Change, or to those whose absence is due to work-related injury or disease.

Mr Royles added:

"These changes directly affect nurses, allied health staff, scientists and support staff in the NHS. We now also need to engage in a discussion with doctors' unions about changes to contracts for consultant medical staff and trainee doctors. I hope we can conduct these discussions in the same spirit, with a clear focus on improving access to high quality patient care."

Employers and unions in the NHS Staff Council will continue to work together to ensure that terms and conditions continue to be responsive to the needs of the service, are supportive of high quality, compassionate patient care and maximise job security. It will continue to have timely discussions that maintain a sustainable national pay and conditions agreement used across the NHS.

Notes to Editors

The changes will be reflected in the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook from 31 March 2013.

927,000 NHS staff are on the Agenda for Change framework, including nurses, midwives, administrators and other staff groups.

The NHS Employers organisation is the recognised body for employers in the NHS, supporting them to put patients first. See www.nhsemployers.org for more information.

Follow NHS Employers on Twitter at @nhsemployers or follow Dean Royles, director of the NHS Employers organisation, at @NHSE_Dean.

A full list of NHS Employers press releases and statements can be accessed at our Media Centre.

Contact details:

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Mike Foster

Senior Media Officer

NHS Employers

Tel: 020 7799 8671

Email: mike.foster@nhsemployers.org 

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