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No NHS pay freeze in Scotland, pledges Neil

The Scottish Government has said it will not freeze pay rises for NHS staff following moves to halt increases south of the border.

Westminster proposals to cancel a 1% rise are an attack on staff and a “betrayal” of the NHS, Scottish health secretary Alex Neil said.

The UK Department of Health argues the increase is not affordable given the current NHS system of automatic incremental salary rises linked to length of service and performance.

In a submission to the independent NHS pay review body, the department proposes to spend funding set aside for the rise on the modernisation of pay structures to “maintain safe staffing levels, with stronger links to performance, quality and productivity”.

The Scottish government has made its own submission proposing a pay rise in 2014-15, Mr Neil said.

He accused his UK counterpart Jeremy Hunt of undermining the health service.

“This is nothing short of bad faith from Jeremy Hunt and a betrayal of the NHS,” Mr Neil said.

“To steal the pay rise back from workers’ hands will destabilise the NHS across the UK and damage morale.

“The Scottish government has no intention of following Jeremy Hunt and we will use our independence over the health service to block this move.

“But with UK-wide agreement to Agenda for Change - which established pay policy in the health service - this damaging right-wing approach could hit Scottish services, and under the current funding settlement could drive down Scotland’s budget in the future.

“Jeremy Hunt’s aim is clear, to undermine the publicly-owned NHS and break it up for further privatisation and American-style health insurance.

“My message to Hunt is unequivocal - Scotland rejects your politics, your attack on staff and your desire to destroy the real NHS.”

The NHS Pay Review Body makes recommendations on the remuneration of all staff paid under the Agenda for Change agreement.

Its recommendations apply to about 1.5 million staff in NHS England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Decisions on pay and how to respond to recommendations from the body are taken separately by the individual countries in the UK.

A spokeswoman for the UK Department of Health said: “No decisions on changes to pay have been taken - the independent bodies will make their recommendations next year.”


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Readers' comments (2)

  • Well done forward thinking Scotland
    You will benefit by increased Staff Morale
    Staff Retention and increased patient satisfaction

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • As my wife was being discharged from the Jubilee a few months ago, one of the nurses commented that staff morale was high.

    Of course it is, I told him. If you employ large numbers of people in many professions all believing (rightly or wrongly) that the work that they do is of the highest possible standard and all striving to improve outcomes it cannot be otherwise.

    The converse is also true. Morale cannot long remain high if standards fall.

    The benefits Auricula identifies are a self reinforcing virtuous cycle.

    Increased patient satisfaction leads to increased staff morale, leads to ...

    Scottish MPs wanted a taxation funded health service in 1850. They got it for over half of Scotland in 1919.

    The reasons? Sparsity, the success of the response to Cholera, and Matthew 25.

    Consequently we had more spend in 1947 per capita. Much of it still there today. The reasons of sparsity and morbidity are spurious and not the reason the extra funding is there.

    To put Alex Neil's statement into perspective, note that on his webpage he says that the NHS saved his son's life.

    Another MSP not of his party tells me he is a worthy successor to Nicola Sturgeon. NS was arguably the most effective and most committed Health Minister in either system since Barbara Castle. The three Labour ones were very good too.

    One of them used the words you won't hear at Westminster: "I am on a waiting list"

    NS (also DFM) has been put on referendum duties.

    The FM himself has said he will defend the NHS "till the rocks melt wi' the sun".

    What more could you ask for in the top team?

    In the history of its Health an Education systems, Scotland has had different values since, and because of, the different course of the reformation. In Scotland the church was democratised. In England it was appropriated by the king.

    Some people even think that Scottish values are distinct enough for Scotland to be best governed as a separate country.

    We will see how many think that next year when people either vote to protect the Scottish NHS from the TTIP treaty and the Church of Adam Smth, or to keep Trident, a nuclear risk and target, 30 miles fro our largest city.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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