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Trusts plan to withhold incremental pay rises

One in three NHS organisations intend to tame their salary bills by withholding pay increments from staff, a survey of senior human resources managers indicates.

A survey of more than 100 human resources directors and deputy directors, carried out by Nursing Times’ sister title HSJ in partnership with NHS Employers, asked how likely it was that staff on the Agenda for Change pay framework would have their pay progression stopped in the next year.

In total 30% said it was very likely or likely staff in their organisation would have their pay increments withheld during the next 12 months. A further 39% said they were slightly likely to withhold increments.

The responses indicate a marked determination by NHS organisations to tackle what is known as “incremental drift”, an increase in salary costs as staff progress through pay bands established by Agenda for Change.

The pay framework covers more than a million staff, but not doctors. Around 55% of staff received an increment pay rise in 2012-13, worth on average 3.4 %.

This year the government is insisting that staff who are eligible for increments should be denied the 1% cost of living increase proposed for 2014-15.

Under the government’s proposals, those who do not receive increments because they fall short on performance measures would receive no pay rise at all.

Howard Catton, policy director at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Continued attacks on pay and the prospect of removing incentives, along with the mismatch of supply and demand, means people are going to have to look at the offer they are making to nurses.

“To reduce the offer flies in the face of the logic of what’s happening to the labour market and the forces of supply and demand we are seeing at play. There is an irony that it is market labour forces at work here.”

The survey also revealed that the majority of NHS organisations had introduced reforms that will make pay progression under Agenda for Change dependent on staff meeting performance standards that are agreed locally. These changes were agreed by NHS unions in February 2013.

HR barometer graph 1

Readers' comments (32)

  • they can only hold your increment if you are not performing to the required standard..you should of been told by your line manager months before they even try to stop your pay..that you are not performing and the correct procedures put in place for you to achive this

    if this ever happened to me i will take the trust straight to a tribunal

    this is just a money saving scheme from the penny pinching bean counters who will be at the top of thier band no doubt!!!

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  • I was a bank nurse who was put on 1st yr staff nurse pay after 40 yrs of being a nurse. I had been a sister and a practice nurse for 17yrs. In 3yrs of working I was denied any increments which galled me as I was continuously asked medical questions by younger staff. It was obvious that the trust was penny pinching.

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  • Once again nurses have to take the short fall to save on the NHS budget!!!
    First staff cuts, then 'debanding'. then no pay rise and now no increment!! Yet we are expected to keep our knowledge up to date and provide more and more as part of our role!! so so unfair!!
    How much more can we as a professional gorup take!!

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  • I have been asked to do bank work. I refuse as I would be paid year 1 band 5.....I am on a top 7. It seems to surprise some managers that I am unwilling to do extra hours for less than my normal rate!

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  • mmm well that will make recruitment of the best nurses easy for 31% organisations. If you want to deliver the best care you need a work force that feels valued.

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  • Being at the bottom of my band if this does take affect in my trust then I will not only loose out on my in recent but also on the 1% pay rise the government is only offering to those who are at the top of their bands! This is totally unfair! Inflation is still going up and our wages have been frozen for many years now. The NHS has been battered financially in so many ways which has ultimately caused massive problems for staff on the ground and ultimately having a massive impact on patient care! When is e government and the top NHS bosses going to wake up and realise this is just not fair!

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  • 6/06/14
    I am absolutley discussed at the total betrayal of the nursing profession by the goverment and the protentious, jobs for the boys, arrogant NHS hierachy. Slash their departments by half and cut/freeze their wages and lets see what happens!!
    Nursing has been a vocation for many in service. They have professional standards, working along side the newly qualified doctors. Teaching new staff. They are mentors, councillors, staticians, empathic and compassionate healers and financial wizards.
    Treat them how they deserve to be treated with a professionals wage. Everyone wants nurses to be professional but won't give them a professional pay the more than deserve!!Thier expected to pay for their license and insurance to work. I saw a post advertised for a Band 5 Paediatric Nurse with Anaestetic/theatre qualification for £21,000 + for preferred experience!! What an insult!!
    Wake up goverment, wake up bosses your heading for a disaterous melt down! What would happen if the few staff that are remaining (retention of the student nurse is an embarressment!!)should consider striking.
    Goverment and bosses don't compound an already volatile situation, give the nurses the little pitence they so rightfully deserve for the blood and guts work they do above and beyond the call of duty.

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  • So nurses are being held to ransom again! We are told that if we put your wages up the patient care will suffer!! It is just so wrong, will managers pay be withheld? I very much doubt it. Nurses have to stand up for themselves, be have been walked all over for far too long, it is time for action.

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  • Attacks on pay and conditions seems to be all this government wants. Management and politicians won't get their hands dirty and willing to sacrifice those delivering a service our patients wants.
    They're keeping pay low, which will demoralise staff and not help staffing numbers.
    Ever get the feeling some people just focus on money and profits from sick people and don't care who they step on in the process.

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  • emotional blackmail ,yet again, next the government will be passing a law making nurses exempt from the minimum wage, far to many nurses are being paid less than they deserve, I cant se mpos or bankers working for the wage a nurse gets because "it wouldn't attract talent"

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  • their pensions aren't much better. my very small one has just gone up a generous 91p a month! the RNPFN was dissolved years ago so I was returned a small lump sum.

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  • Disgusting, once again nurses being made the scapegoats. The NHS needs to start losing some of the overpaid managers this would save them thousands, then they could afford to pay the essential staff members what they deserve. It is utterly outrageous to even contemplate denying nurses their well earnt increments. I am one of the hundreds of nurses who have been debanded to make so called savings & then found out our manager had been promoted & given a pay rise. If savings have to be made then the NHS need to start getting rid of some of the unnecessary management positions

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  • How about the government crack down on the NHS tourists!! those who abuse the system but have no right to free care. That would be a good way to save some money without abusing the hard working nurses AGAIN

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  • I am a nurse licensed in both Canada and the UK and have worked in both countries...sounds like the same problems...to save money they look at freezing and (gasp!) even cutting nurses wages, lower staffing levels, and provide fewer support services while expecting top quality client centred care...while those that make these questionable decisions continue to increase in both numbers and salaries paid. As someone mentioned above...lets cut their staffing, ask them to do more on less wage...see how they feel! When will it be realized that nurses, doctors, and other support staff are what make the hospitals work...not impenetrable layers of management! I know that my hospital runs just fine thank you on the weekend when of course there is no management in sight... We are professionals, pay us what we are worth!

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  • visitors to the UK should be claiming back on their insurance for healthcare. all should have insurance as we are expected to when we travel anywhere. if they don't tough, and repatriation is very costly if not covered!

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  • how about mp,s give nurses thier 11% pay rise!!

    no thought not

    this govt in its 4 years in office has treat this proffession with utter contempt..i ask all you nursing staff if you value your job and the nhs..vote out these idiots next year because if we get another 5 years of this lot..the end is coming

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  • I VOTE FOR STRIKE ACTION NOW. We as nurses must stand together we are being poorly treated this is not right we have to do something about it, I beg all nurses out there to take a stand on this.

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  • I am band 6 retiring this year. Instead of being sorry to see me go they will be thinking one less band 6 to pay especially as I will be doing the odd bank job for band 5 pay!

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  • Luke is right strike is the only way I VOTE FOR STRIKE

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  • I VOTE FOR STRIKE

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