Pay increase ‘not appropriate’ – NHS Employers
Increasing NHS pay by 1% would be unaffordable, NHS Employers has warned.
In evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body, which makes recommendations to the Government on pay awards for health professionals (except doctors, dentists and board level managers), NHS Employers highlighted that failure to freeze pay scales for 2014/15 could put “unnecessary” pressure on quality and could even cost jobs.
A 1% pay rise would cost the NHS £500m. NHS Employers argued that recruitment and retention was steady across the NHS, as was morale, and pay remains attractive. A decision to increase pay rates could hamper the health service’s ability to respond to patient needs and increasing demand, it added.
Dean Royles, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: “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.
“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.”
But Dr Peter Carter, chief executive & general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said a pay increase of 1% “should not prevent employers from recruiting more nurses”.
He said: “We acknowledge that savings must be made in the NHS, however surely it would be better to start with the many examples of waste, in procurement and IT systems for example. It is demoralising for nursing staff to discover that while senior managers have enjoyed a pay increase of 13% since 2009, it is frontline staff who are being asked to sacrifice their living standards to save the NHS money.
“These frontline staff are already suffering as a result of NHS cuts, as they face greater demand with fewer resources. Another year of pay freezes sends entirely the wrong message that this contribution is not being valued while putting staff under even more pressure, which is bad for patient care.”
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