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Regional pay - will MPs include themselves in it?

Andrew Lansley pushes through the most madcap, unpopular legislation in the history of the NHS, then announces the coalition backs plans to reduce pay to staff in poorer areas of what will be left of the health service.

He inevitably cites how regional pay works in the commercial sector, despite the evidence it is unworkable, unfair and inefficient. The one group not just exempted from Lansley’s plans but who will need increased pay – the managers implementing the changes to the NHS.

Cue Lib Dem MPs saying this is outrageous and they’ll ensure it never happens. Yeah, right. We’ve been here before. Following their disgraceful shenanigans on the NHS bill, Nick Clegg and his party proved their consistency in professing outrage at proposals for wholesale surveillance of our emails and internet activity without a legal warrant, until it emerged Clegg was part of the group that initially discussed the policy.

It’s worth thinking a bit more about Mr Clegg. The Sheffield MP has openly pushed for policies that are predicted to cost up to 8000 public sector jobs in his city. He came to power promising to lead a party that would break the mould. And it has, breaking election promises with an unashamed enthusiasm rarely seen before. I hate it but understand it, if he can eventually get away with it.

It’s presumed it’s electoral suicide. But I think Clegg looks at the electoral landscape and calculates the Lib Dems are likely to continue holding the balance of power, whichever is the largest party after the next election.  Ruin public services, upset a million public sector workers and there are no real consequences. Which means his brand of politics could be the continuity between different governments.

But the last thing the NHS needs is another barrier between nurses and managers – who will be on the front line of the regional pay issue. Navigating a path through the chaos of the next few years will fall to these two groups in particular and one of the few chances the NHS has of remaining functional. A new relationship is required that will take serious movement on both sides. Uniting against Lansley’s latest plans will be a start. Perhaps we should argue MPs pilot taking less money in poorer areas, Clegg included?

Chris Hart

Readers' comments (13)

  • tinkerbell

    of course they will, otherwise they would be hypocrites. We have to remember that we're all in this together as they tell us and they wouldn't say that if they didn't mean it, would they? It's not as though they they are lying, treacherous snakes in the grass, how can you think such a thing?

    Anybody would think they were all at it (mostly) with the expenses scandal and were just thinking about their own self interests and don't care about the working classes at all when they have our very best interests at heart and are trying to help us realise that we must all go through this period of austerity, cuts, slash & burn and the best place to start is with our nations health service.

    These are people we can trust with health and future wealth. They have a plan and they know where we are going, and are fully paid up members of the flat earth society. What could possibly go wrong?

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  • hi tink i take there was a hint of sarcasam.

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  • Aren't MPs already part of a regional pay structure in the UK or do MSPs, AM's and MLA's get the same as Westminster MP's?

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 21-May-2012 9:21 am

    I was terribly drunk at the time:)

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  • tinkerbell | 21-May-2012 6:08 am

    I`m sure you are right Tink, and that we don`t have anything to worry about, as the wisdom of our leaders will see us through this tough time, ensuring equal sacrifice on all sides.

    My first thought however was:

    "All Pigs are equal, but some Pigs are more equal than others !!!!!!!!!!"

    I`m sure I`ve heard that somewhere before, and seems to fit quite nicely at them moment.

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  • tinkerbell

    Tipperary Tim | 22-May-2012 12:28 pm

    Apparently its from the book 'Animal Farm'. Steve Williams mentioned it once before and i looked it up. An analogy of power struggles and manipulation with animals playing the role of humans and basically how human nature sucks and it comes down to dog eat dog, although as far as i know no dogs were mentioned in the book and as i haven't read the book and only a summary i might be doing it a disservice.

    All pretty sordid stuff though much like what is happening to the nursing profession
    with this shower of unelected carpet baggers and bandits, who quite frankly are becoming a real pain in the butt, and i mean that quite literally but won't elaborate on my latest medical condition brought on no doubt by all this insane crap.

    Following discussion with other staff on the ward found out most of us are now suffering with this condition too. Perhaps they've put something in the water. Wouldn't put it past them.

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  • Toby Ornottoby


    It was "all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others."

    Boxer's (the RN analogy) mantra was always "I will work harder" despite the fact he could see the pigs were just taking advantage of his strength and good will.

    There's also an interesting quote that could be used for nurses generally "...the animals worked like slaves. But they were happy in their work; they grudged no effort or sacrifice, well aware that everything they did was for the benefit of themselves and those of their kind who would come after them, and not for a pack of idle, thieving human beings."

    Steve Williams used to frequently liken himself to the character "Benjamin" in the book... "Only old Benjamin professed to remember every detail of his long life and to know that things never had been, nor ever could be much better or much worse - hunger, hardship and disappointment being, so he said, the unalterable law of life."

    As for the army of former nurses who are now employed as pen-pushers...

    "No question now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

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  • What jobs, based in London, require no formal qualifications or experience? A quick look through the classifieds gives loads of examples at minimum wage but none at the MPs current salary of £77000.

    As for predicting if Mr Lansley could be counted on for supporting the idea, his past behaviour may be a predictor:

    - Whilst earning 3 times the salary of a staff nurse as shadow health secretary, he claimed for the redecoration of his 2nd home (which was in the country) which included Farrow and Ball paint, new handmade curtains, recovering of a chair (fabric £45 a metre), replacing the shingle on the drive, and a new Laura Ashley sofa at £750. Bearing in mind that the expenses are meant to facillitate MPs working in London, not help with country homes, and that within months of spending your money on his country home, he sold it, and the 'flipped' his 2nd home claims to his London residence! When challenged, his response was that it is within the rules! Source:

    Now, with his current £145000 salary, and his talent for spending your money 'within the rules' which just happens to have the unanticipated knock on of personal gain, do you think he will support changing MPs salary to 'market facing'?

    What you have to understand about the Conservative ideology is that they believe that state should not interfere in people's lives. As such, state provision of healthcare must be removed - allow people and the market to decide - and they will employ any strategy to change the NHS from it's current provider of healthcare to a commissioner of healthcare.

    By allowing competition and market facing pay, it is the first step along the road. Whilst they are happy to make us experience the results of that, it isn't something they want to taste personally!

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  • Tinkerbell
    Animal Farm and 1984 are both fairly short easy ( although uncomfortable) reads, A level material really.
    Robert Tressell in The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists tells it like it really is, and has got a lot more laughs ( bit like Corrie v Eastenders)

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  • tinkerbell

    Animal Farm. Thanks for all the info.

    'Orwell suggests that we cannot eliminate government corruption by electing principled individuals to roles of power; he reminds us throughout the novella that it is power itself that corrupts'- Sparknotes.

    So are we all doomed?

    Hopefully not, whilst we have a few good men/women to fight the good cause.

    Please excuse but i will pass on the full read, i think it would spiral me downwards to do that to myself, get the general gist though, the doom and gloom. Bloody depressing but remain ever hopeful even though we may all end up in the 'glue factory'.

    Think I'll stick with disney. I'm better off that way and it gets me through the day to focus more on our good qualities which ultimately triumph, otherwise our whole planet would be run by these despots/tyrants/megalomaniacs and though they may succeed for a period of time eventually they are brought down and good prevails.

    A manager once told me whilst i was depicting a hopeful, happy ending to a situation, 'this isn't a fairy tale you know'. He had me sussed in that one liner. It was a fair cop.

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  • Of course they will have Regional Pay. Why wouldn't they - they all work in Central London. Appropriately this is a complete no-brainer.

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  • Regional Pay?
    "Yes no problem" PM & Mr Lansley
    Regional is only "US" in the Palace of Westminster, "NO ONE ELSE MATTERS".

    "Let them eat cake"!!!!! Ref; Marie Antoinette.

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  • increasing the number of working hours per week on line with many other European countries may be highly unpopular but could help reduce unpaid overtime and stress affecting may nurses. this would make more working hours available for direct patient care and pay and pensions could then reflect this. jobs should also be made more attractive with flexibility of part time jobs, flexible paid overtime with higher rates and crèche facilities. However, core times each day need to be respected so that part timers are not picking all the most attractive working days and hours leaving the full time staff with the bulk of the work or unattractive working times, which is often the case.

    currently Britain have among the lowest working hours in Europe whilst expecting the same higher salaries and pensions which are earned in other countries. To each individual working a 42 hour week rather than a 37 hour week can have little effect on their personal life but could have a great impact on quality of care, reducing stress whilst allowing more time with each patient and cutting down on unpaid overtime.

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