NHS pay rise pledge raises a fair few issues
AT last Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has bowed to the inevitable and increased pay for NHS staff other than doctors who come under a different negotiating system. Yes, the current lowest paid will, if announcements are confirmed, be very much better off, and yes, nurses are to get an increase as well, but at a much lower percentage than unskilled grades.
Now this is going to create differential problems, the likes of which used to plague the motor manufacturing industry in yesteryear. The gap between the lowest and top grades will be much less than now, and this is very unfair. Mr Hunt should accept the fact that nurses, now a graduate profession, are entitled to a lot more pay, for they have huge debt mountains incurred by them having to pay for their training.
I am surprised that nurse leaders have not taken Mr Hunt to task over his proposals in relation to all graduate staff, and if there are to be fair and equitable rewards across the board, then additional money has to be found. I feel that the current proposals are not properly thought through.
I also have very serious concerns as to how exactly Government is going to pay for these increases, for it is not totally clear that they are going to fully compensate hospital finance departments. There are rumours that suggest that Mr Hunt will withhold some of the necessary extra funding on the grounds that with the new pay scales, hospitals will be able to increase nurse retention and thereby slice the enormous cost of agency workers.
This would be very unfair to those hospitals that have relatively little agency expenditure, whilst some infirmaries, that have always had trouble with recruitment, have large bills to pay.
The NHS is currently haemorrhaging staff, and this has to stop. The main medicine is increased pay, and at last Government has acted.
However, it is almost certain that other public service workers will jump straight on the bandwagon, which may well lead to inflation. Russell Luckock is chairman of Birmingham pressings firm AE Harris