Pay increase would damage NHS patient care and job security say employers


24 / 9 / 2013 Midnight

The NHS Employers organisation is urging the pay review bodies to recommend freezing pay scales in the NHS next year.

Increasing pay by a full one per cent would add £500 million to the pay bill and NHS Employers demonstrates, in two detailed submissions this week, that the increase is unaffordable and unnecessary for the NHS. It would make the delivery of quality care more difficult by putting additional pressure on NHS organisations, as well as risking jobs.

Average earnings in the NHS have continued to increase because of widespread incremental pay rises.

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

“This is the most significant evidence we have submitted to the review body for some time. It comes at a crucial point in NHS pay reform discussions - reforms which are needed if patients are to be treated and cared for properly and more effectively seven days a week. NHS pay is already competitive and increasing year on year for most staff.

“We have been listening to employers and they tell us that money in the NHS is very tight, while they are doing everything they can to retain staff and increase quality. It has never been more important for the review bodies to listen to, and take seriously, that employer voice.

“I would love it if we could increase pay for our incredibly hard working staff. As employers we want them to feel valued and recognise that months of negative publicity have left them feeling battered and bruised. We know pay increases are important financially and emotionally. But we also know a one per cent pay increase would add around £500 million of additional costs next year - the equivalent of over 15,000 nurses or almost 5,000 consultant doctors.

“We are already seeing considerable pressure on our ability to maintain staffing numbers and any such increase is bound to add to the pressure, impact on patient care and undermine job security. So a pay increase is not appropriate this year. If the pay review is minded to increase pay, we have asked that this be deferred to facilitate pay reform and support negotiations on terms and conditions rather than adding it directly to pay scales.”

Average pay in the NHS in 2012 (including basic pay plus additions such as overtime) was: £30,564 for a nurse, £109,651 for a consultant, £47,702 for a manager and £36,130 for a qualified paramedic.

NHS Employers submitted evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body today and will submit further evidence to the Doctors and Dentists Review Body on Friday 27 September, both arguing against a further pay rise for 2014/15. Other key facts in today’s submission include:
  • The service needs to be more responsive to patient needs and the growing demand for high quality, compassionate patient services. 
  • Key to that is reforming the pay and conditions contracts. 
  • Recruitment and retention of staff is stable across the country, although in some staff groups such as A&E doctors there are labour market shortages which cannot be solved by increasing national pay rates. 
  • NHS pay remains attractive and competitive. 
Staff morale and engagement is remaining steady. This is demonstrated by the annual NHS Staff Survey, where all key measures on staff morale rose in 2012 compared with 2011. 

Further cost pressures are on the horizon for employers in the NHS. For example in relation to additional pension and national insurance contributions on behalf of staff.

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