The NHS Employers’ organisation, which represents managers and employers, says there should be no across-the-board pay rise in 2014-2015.
It has made the proposal in a submission to the pay review bodies that advise on medical and nursing pay increases. The government, however, has already said the public sector should have 1% pay rises.
But NHS Employers says this would be “unaffordable” and would cost some £500 million a year. It says that at least pay rises should be deferred until new terms and conditions are agreed. The organisation is about to starting negotiating with the BMA over new consultant and junior doctor contracts.
NHS Employers says average earnings continue to increase because of incremental pay rises. Continuing restraint of paybill growth will continue to be essential, to ensure continued delivery of high quality patient services, and there is no evidence to support increasing the national scales on recruitment or retention grounds, it says.
Chief executive Dean Royles said: “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.”
Its other key messages to the NHS Pay Review Body include:
– the imperative for NHS organisations for 2014/15 and beyond will be to continue to meet the growing demand for high quality, compassionate patient services post-Francis. Putting patients at the heart of all the NHS does means that any changes to national pay, terms and conditions have to be seen in this context.
– the changes recently agreed to the Agenda for Change national agreement, that introduce a clearer link between pay progression and performance and changes to sick pay, have been welcomed by employers as a start to the process of reforming the national pay system and changing the culture in the NHS.
– further reform of national pay and conditions are needed, to make them more supportive of the delivery of seven-day patient services, and financially sustainable for the future.
The NHS Employers organisation has published draft heads of terms for the possible reform of the consultants’ contract and to achieve a new contract for doctors in training. Both have been jointly agreed with the BMA. It says formal negotiations will commence during October 2013.
It wants to recruit a ‘virtual reference group’ of doctors to “help ensure that the negotiation priorities for employers and emerging options for reform of the contracts are appropriate, deliverable and sustainable”.
This is a rare opportunity to get involved in contract reform discussions that will ultimately underpin future delivery of service models, it says.
To get involved, email email@example.com indicating which contract negotiations you are interested in and briefly state the relevance of the negotiations to your current post/responsibilities.