NHS pay rise pledge raises a fair few is­sues

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

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

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