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Labour claims 31 trusts trying to break with AfC ahead of Commons debate

The Labour Party has named 31 hospitals it claims are looking to reduce NHS staff terms and conditions ahead of a debate in the House of Commons later today.

As revealed by Nursing Times last week, the party has secured a crucial vote on the threat of regional pay in the health service and the actions of the South West Consortium of 20 trusts.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said moves to break away from Agenda for Change or reduce other terms and conditions was spreading across the country, and risked the fragmentation of the NHS.

He has called on the government to make its position clear on NHS pay.

On top of the 20 trusts involved in the South West Consortium, Labour has named 11 others it says are considering their own actions.

The list includes North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust, which plans to 5,500 staff and re-hire them on reduced terms and conditions. Neighbouring South Tees trust has said it is exploring similar actions.

Sunderland City Hospitals Foundation Trust has frozen pay for any staff who do not receive an annual appraisal or complete certain training modules.

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation Trust is freezing pay increments for staff who do not complete seven mandatory training modules, or who do not receive an appraisal in a 12-month period.

Oxford Health Foundation Trust is withdrawing a cost of living allowance and Christmas payments while Mid Cheshire Hospitals Foundation Trust has confirmed it is looking at change sick pay terms and conditions.

Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust have both tried to impose new rules to defer incremental pay rises if staff had been off sick.

University Hospital of South Manchester Foundation Trust has included changes to terms and conditions in its three year plan.

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust has said it could move away from Agenda for Change and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation Trust had attempted to impose reduced terms and conditions for new non-medical employees, but withdrew these plans after union pressure.

Mr Burnham said: “The NHS is fragmenting before our eyes. National pay is part of what holds our national service together. It is being broken apart and ministers are doing absolutely nothing about it.

“It is essential the health secretary comes to the Commons and clears up the confusion about government policy on NHS pay. Staff deserve to know where they stand.”

A spokesperson for health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “It was under the last Labour government that NHS trusts were given the freedom to determine their own pay and conditions, so it is completely disingenuous for them to criticise the process now.”

Unions have said trusts looking to break with the national pay framework are undermining negotiations and have called on MPs to show their support in the Parliamentary vote.

Christina McAnea, head of health at Unison, said: “Rogue elements, such as the South West ‘cartel’ are acting irresponsibly and stirring up fear and industrial unrest among their workforce. 

“This is spreading across the NHS like a plague and causing massive anger and worry for staff who just want to get on with their job of caring for patients,” she said.

“National pay bargaining has a proven track record of keeping the industrial peace and we need MPs to back it.”

Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, added: “It is time for MPs across the country to speak up for nurses and reject regional pay.

“Regional pay will not save the economy. The impact on patients will be substantial and they will be severe, creating a skills drain in local areas and putting patient care at risk.”

Readers' comments (15)

  • tinkerbell

    oh well, there we are then. Only the labour party and unions to save us now. What could possibly go wrong?

    Merry Christmas everyone.

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  • The con-dems need to go. They're not interested in the NHS or the people that work within it. It's sole purpose, is to use as a political propaganda tool and use the staff that work there as puppets to use and abuse as they feel fit. The Government say they take a dim view of abuse in the care system, which is quite right, but what about the abuse of NHS staff and OUR human rights. This is just another nail in the coffin of the NHS and our terms and conditions. But why did we expect anything less from these people, they treated us badly in the 80's. History repeating. We need to vote with our feet and get them out of Parliament. Next General Election, PLEASE vote Labour.

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  • patients cannot believe that we are being asked to take a paycut and work unpaid unsocial hours. I can't quite believe it myself, it is absolutely disgusting, what do MP's get paid? please can they, and hospital managers, please publish their annual salaries along with overtime and extras so that we can make a comparison.

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 7-Nov-2012 9:27 am

    Yes i remember it well. When ordinary folk were getting their homes repossessed because mortgage interest rates rocketed to 15% plus and it was dog eat dog with the bankers.

    How quickly we forget. But then if you never lived through a previous tory regime, which left most ordinary people without a pot to pee in how would the youngsters know I guess.

    Back on the merrygoround again whilst this lot squeeze us dry again.

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  • tinkerbell

    At least USA have got it right. Hurray for OBAMACARE and a compassionate society.

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  • I remember the awful Thatcher years, my mortgage rate was 17.5%.

    The hospital I worked in was closed with the promise of increase community care which never materialised. We planned marches up and down the London streets, the Socialist Worker camped outside the hospital gates, UNISON or was it NUPE planning industrial action. The fire service supported us, the police supported us, the public supported us.

    Nurses on one empty ward barricaded themselves in (on their day off) so that the demolition crew couldn't start work.

    It was all to no avail but we gave it our best. The Tories started to destroy the NHS then and will continue to do so as long as they are in power.

    Patients lives are being put at risk every single day. Nurses jobs are being put at risk every single day. "Concerns" are being raised every single day, the regulators are under investigation, beds are closing, hospitals are closing, people will die and they don't give a damn about any of it because they just don't care.

    It's time middle England the right-wing media sat up and actually took notice of what is going on in the real world.

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  • Okay, I'm going to use that swear word again.....STRIKE!

    Nothing less will do. The continued lack of action on the part of this profession is hurting our patients and ourselves. The unions and their lack of tough talk must take their share of the blame. However, if nurses do not vote in union ballots (which they don't) on these vital matters, then the unions have no mandate to actually take action.

    Industrial action does work and we only have to look to our colleagues elsewhere for proof. We have allowed this to go on for far too long. Enough is enough.

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  • tinkerbell

    mags | 7-Nov-2012 12:51 pm

    Keep it pleasant Bugs, it's not like anyone gives a toss.

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  • Sorry Tink. I appear to have developed Industrial Action-related Tourette's. STRIKE!! There it is again! I can't help myself.

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  • When you are a registered nurse in the NHS that's what you are wherever you live and work, and the pay should be the same nationwide. I understand about London weighting, and as I worked there myself, I know how expensive it can be, and don't have a problem with nurses getting that. It's high time the government reeled in these maverick trusts who are trying to shaft us, and where applicable take their foundation status off them if they try to leave agenda for change. They should have been told that they couldn't do that when they applied for foundation status in the first place.

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  • What is this debate about?...Probably to agree to the mavericks being able to go out by themselves and there will not just be 31 trusts but the whole lot who will follow on. As long as the cuts are being made that is all that ANY government wants even if in the long run it will have repercussions that will inevitably ensue.

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  • tinkerbell

    mags | 7-Nov-2012 1:32 pm

    same here, i seem to have developed late onset 'text tourettes' and can't sto typing swear words, i apologise for any offence it may cause others but it is nothing compared to the injury and insult being poured over us all by this shower of *****

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  • We voted the hypocits into parliament. Most of the NHS nurses refused to support their union reps. in taking industrial action... yes I know you've heard it from me before. So, it's no use in complaining when you all use your jobs. wages, pensions - not that they will be much use to you, 'cos you'll be working well past your seventies, under this crowd's management - whatever (non) action you take now will be too little, too late!

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  • to all you nurses who voted either lib dem or tory....great job you have helped this shower get into govt and destroy our nhs..

    hope you are so proud of yourselves!!!!

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  • How can it be right to break away from AfC? Once this is diluted, we can kiss our terms and conditions of employment goodbye. Effects on pay, wide-spread downbanding, effects on pensions etc. No-one seems to care that you've spent years of hard graft and commitment to get your current Band. To drop from a 6 to 5, which by the sounds of it will happening in many Trusts means a loss of approx £7000 a year. Can't recoup that by buying cheaper tins of baked beans!
    When will MP's...anyone...stand up for us or at the very least see what damage is being done to the NHS as a whole.

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