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Frontline to get a say on Agenda for Change deal

Frontline nurses will, for the first time, be given the chance to have their say on plans to dilute terms and conditions.

The main healthcare unions Unison, Unite and the Royal College of Nursing have confirmed local members will be involved in a consultation on proposals to alter Agenda for Change.

As revealed by nursingtimes.net, on 9 November union leaders agreed to a set of draft proposals from the NHS Employers organisation, which would significantly change terms and conditions for many frontline NHS nurses.

The proposals include an end to automatic incremental pay rises, the loss of enhanced out of hours sick pay, and an end to band 5 nurses receiving two increment rises during their first year after qualification.

Senior staff on higher pay bands could also be removed from Agenda for Change entirely and paid an individual salary.

Unison and the RCN are planning wide-ranging branch consultations with each of their branches deciding how best to garner the views of members. Meanwhile, Unite has said it is planning to send its members consultation documents and a survey – via email and post – with a closing date of 17 December.

An RCN spokesman said: “We are going to be consulting our members. We are still finalising the logistics of how it is all going to take place but it will involve boards and branches seeking the views of RCN members.”

In a statement notifying members of the forthcoming branch consultation, Unison acknowledged the draft proposals were “controversial”.

Christina McAnea, chair of NHS Staff Side Council and Unison’s head of health, said: “The changes to Agenda for Change are a bitter pill for our members to swallow, but all around them they see the harsh reality of government cuts on patients and staff.”

Latest figures from the NHS Information Centre, published last week, suggest the NHS nursing workforce in England is continuing to shrink.

The provisional figures show the total number of qualified nurses, midwives and health visitors fell by 1,012 whole time equivalent staff between July and August, from 305,578 to 304,566.

The results of the union consultations are expected to be known in January.

Readers' comments (7)

  • tinkerbell

    Grrrr, get on with it, sort out your logistics or whatever but please get a move on. By the time we get to take any action on these issues the fat lady will have already sung.

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  • I find it incredulous that this is the way the NHS deals with the work force at the bedside, while providing big pay outs to exec's who probably have never been near a patient and are little known by the staff that maintain the high levels of care that are delivered.
    Get rid of these posts and put the money back into front line services!

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  • I would completely agree with all of these changes. Why should it be an automatic right to progress through the increments without evidence of learning and achievement? Why should a nurse be paid enhanced hours payments for a shift that they haven't worked because they're off sick? If someone has to cover them they too will be paid (and rightly so) the enhanced payment for that shift. And why do newly registered nurses get two increments within 12 months...the first one supposedly being based on sucessful completion of preceptorship, which we all know is usually passed through with no questions as are all the other incremental rises, and yes I am a nurse too.

    I believe nurses should be rewarded with increments when they show evidence of continued learning, not just to turn up and do the bare minimum they can get away with. I believe nurses should be rewarded with enhanced hours payments...for the shifts they actually work. These changes will save the NHS a fortune, both in incremental payments and in uneccessary enhanced hours payments and sick pay, because I'm sure there will be less 1 or 2 days sickness when enhancements are no longer paid!!

    What other profession would get away with this?

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  • "What other profession would get away with this?"


    Hmmm - anyone else paid on AfC T&C inc AHPs and admin and clerical staff - that catagory includes middle management!!!!

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  • "save a fortune"?
    I would like to know how much will actually be saved by cutting enhancements for sick staff. I suspect it will mean little to the budget - but a great deal to those affected.
    As for increments why not make it so that management have to justify withholding a rise rather than a nurse trying to make an argument as to why one is justified. If your face fits you will have no problem.... But ethnic minority staff may well find [again] that they lose out. So too will staff who are not able to access degree modules due to cuts in funding.
    If the cut to 1 increment in year one is to be enacted then let the current first increment be the new starting wage and the second increment stay the same at the end of the year.

    As for senior nurses being on individual wages this will be a bullies charter. I have been bullied to such an extent that I took out a grievance but the witnesses were [in their own words] 'too scared to speak up'. I will doubtless be on a special change from 40k to a much lower rate....

    Thanks to the unions for their willingness to negotiate away the advances made over many years. Grow a pair before you go back to the discussions please.

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  • Glad the frontline staff affected are being consulted, but Unison/RCN using their branch structures pre-supposes people are able to attend branch meetings, & that those that do are representative of the workforce.
    Certainly in my area (& I know from others the area is not unique), the branch is a clique with particular views & woe betide anyone who turns up & dares to suggest there's other ways of looking at things (you'll find it almost impossible to even find out when a branch meeting is, even when actively looking)

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  • This isn't the first time that Unison and RCN have disregarded their membership, assuming that they know what is best for them, I know which union I would rather be a member of....... one that asks me my opinion before it makes any decision/action on my behalf
    Also it is not just a matter of proving you meet competencies to progress it is a matter of increments being withdrawn at the whim of a manager and we all know that bullying and favouritism doesn't exist in the NHS ...... does it????

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