latest health care news

10.07.18

Pay rise for NHS staff could add £100m to hospice bill, charity says

Recent pay rises for NHS could have a “damaging impact” on charitable hospices around England and put vital services at risk, a major hospice charity has said today.

In a new report, Hospice UK estimates that changes resulting from the NHS pay deal— secured in early June where over a million NHS workers were to receive a 6.5% pay increase— that its 200-member hospices will have to spend an extra £100m over the next three years.

The extra £100m over three years is as much as 2% of the extra government funding set aside for the NHS staff pay increase, Hospice UK added.

A recent Written Ministerial Statement outlined by the government stated how it intends to address the impact of the pay award on non-NHS providers, including hospices.

The Government will allow non-NHS providers - that are providing NHS services and that employ staff on an Agenda for Change contract - to access part of the £800 million that is being made available to the NHS this year for staff pay. Only those organisations that match Agenda for Change terms and conditions will be able to access the extra funding. 

Most hospices use Agenda for Change terms and conditions as a guide to their local pay policies for clinical staff - rather than matching the terms and conditions exactly – so it looks likely that the majority of hospices would not be able to access this funding.  

Tracey Bleakley, chief executive of Hospice UK, said: “While we strongly support the pay award for hardworking NHS staff, we are very concerned about the wider impact of this on charitable hospices in England.

“Most hospices use NHS terms and conditions as guidance for their local pay policies rather than matching their terms and policies exactly.  To recruit and retain staff, hospices will have little choice other than following the pay rises for the NHS, so many hospices will be left severely out of pocket.”

Bleakley noted that charitable hospices are facing “huge financial pressures” so the pay rise will put stretched resources under even greater strain.

“We urge the Government to take action to mitigate the impact of the NHS pay award on charitable hospices in England,” she added. “If no allowance is made for hospices they may be forced to cut vital services.”

Simon Jones, director of policy at Public Affairs at Marie Curie, which has nine hospices across the UK added: “While Marie Curie welcomes the proposal to support end of life care charities who employ staff on Agenda for Change contractual terms, we remain concerned that this will not address the full extent of the challenges faced by ourselves and the wider sector in recruiting and retaining the high quality staff we need to provide a first class service for people at the end of their lives.”

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Image credit: LPETTET, iStock images

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