Hospital Dr News

Lib Dems urge coalition to rule out regional pay

The Lib Dems have warned the government not to pay public sector workers different salaries depending on where they live.

Party members overwhelmingly passed a motion at their annual conference calling on the coalition government “to rule out any further expansion” in regional or local pay.

Lib Dems agreed that scrapping national pay agreements “risks undermining public services” and could “adversely affect” many regions.

In the South West, 20 NHS trusts have formed a pay cartel which has drawn up a package of 28 proposals which include cuts to on-call payments for consultants, slashing time for supporting professional activities by 80% and reducing sick pay and annual leave entitlements.

Dr Mark Porter, chair of BMA Council, commented: “We welcome the fact that one of the coalition partners has rejected these short-sighted plans so whole-heartedly.

“Moving towards regional pay in the NHS would make it very difficult for some hospitals to recruit and retain high-calibre staff. Ultimately, it would move us away from a truly National Health Service.”

The TUC recently voted to ’strongly’ resist moves to introduce regional pay into the NHS after a debate led by hospital consultants.

Regional pay would lead to a cut in take home pay, Eddie Saville general secretary of the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association, told the TUC annual conference in Brighton earlier this month.

“After years of pay freezes and an attack on their pensions, this latest development had driven consultant morale down to an all time low. “Hospital consultants tell me that some may opt to go early, some have even said they will leave the UK altogether,” said Saville.

Lord Newby of Rothwell, the Lib Dem chief whip in the House of Lords, said: “The Conservative Party may decide they want to put this in their general election manifesto, but we will definitely not be doing it. It is not going to be happening on our watch, this side of an election.”

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