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‘Grossly unfair’ pay rise risks undermining health and social care integration, NHS Confederation warns

National efforts to integrate health and care services will be undermined if the government fails to award thousands of health and care staff with pay rises, the NHS Confederation has warned.

The government announced in March a pay-rise for all NHS employees on ‘Agenda for Change’ contracts at publicly owned providers, but not non-statutory employers.

Following lobbying from social care, the voluntary sector, GPs, social enterprises, independent sector organisations and trade unions, this was extended to non-statutory providers of NHS services, but this has still missed some staff, NHS Confederation has warned.

It says that only a limited number of non-statutory providers of care currently employ staff on Agenda for Change contracts, which means tens of thousands of frontline staff in the voluntary, social enterprise and independent health and care sectors will not receive the pay rise.

With around half of all services delivered by non-statutory providers, NHS Confederation has warned that “an uneven playing field could destabilise the already fragile community services sector.”

Niall Dickson said: “This is grossly unfair. The pay award for those employed by NHS trusts was welcome, but it fails to recognise and reward the tens of thousands of other dedicated staff who are delivering frontline NHS care in independent, voluntary, social enterprise, and GP-run services.

“It also does nothing for nurses and others in social care, which will exacerbate recruitment and retention issues for those vital services.

“This is about more than just individuals losing out – it has serious implications for the future of the health and care services.”

He said that the government creating a pay system that set sup barriers between services undermines the joined-up care it is trying to promote.

He said: “If ministers are serious about developing services that help to keep people in their own homes and in the community, it makes no sense whatsoever to pay frontline staff in many community services less than their colleagues in hospitals.

“We are calling on ministers to look at this again as a matter of urgency.

“They must make sure that future pay rises are allocated and ringfenced through commissioners and the NHS tariff. Only in this way will we make sure that all staff providing NHS services are treated fairly.”

 Image credit - sturti

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