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South West pay consortium to continue its work

The consortium of trusts looking to break away from Agenda for Change has again signalled its refusal to bow to pressure to halt its work.

The group of 19 South West trusts has confirmed it plans to carry on with efforts to draw up a business plan for a range of options to reduce staff pay, terms and conditions.

There had been claims the group would collapse following the chancellor’s announcement that plans to introduce regional pay zones would not apply to the NHS.

However, George Osborne’s decision related to a set of specific government plans for zones of basic pay weighting that do not include the South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium’s attempts to move away from Agenda for Change.

The consortium had also faced calls to disband following the draft agreement of national proposals to dilute AfC in November.

But consortium chair Chris Bown remained defiant last week on the central aims of the group to reduce staff pay, terms and conditions further than those proposed nationally. He said: “Existing legislation permits NHS trusts freedoms in how pay, terms and conditions are arranged at a local level.

“The consortium was established to explore ways in which these existing freedoms may be used to support sustainability in services and employment in the face of unprecedented challenges. This remains the case.”

Mr Bown added that the consortium was “encouraged” by the progress of national AfC talks and that, “should these proposals be agreed”, he believed consortium members would implement them.

But Nursing Times understands the consortium will still seek to go further and bolt on its own changes to the national proposals. It is believed the national proposals, which include an end to enhanced sick pay, do not deliver the scale of savings desired by consortium members.

Christina McAnea, Unison’s head of health described the consortium’s support for national talks as a “helpful first move”.

A cross party group of 15 MPs from across the South West met health minister Dan Poulter last Tuesday in an attempt to ratchet up the pressure on the consortium to stop.

Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George suggested the group would “come back into line early next year; partly as a result of the pressure they are under.”

He said MPs would urge the group to stop their plans and redirect efforts to save money on items like the procurement of goods and services.

Readers' comments (5)

  • The only thing left for the staff in this region is to strike

    Are the chief execs of these trusts having thier terms and conditions changed..erm!!!

    These muppets on thier inflated salaries hav'nt got a clue what its like on the front line..must be able to see for miles up there in thier ivory towers!

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  • I notice that nothing is mentioned about the Boards of these Trusts getting huge payrises and 'gifts in kind' that equates to thousands of pounds that could be better used to reduce NHS spending. We are expected to do more and more as aperwork gets more laborious and vacancies are not advertised so we are left short staffed, meaning that the very people we are there to look after are being left vulnerable and at risk. Perhaps the general Public would like to back these nurses and healthcare staff who will soon be too tired and short staffed to accept patients into their Departments, forcing more care to be done by families at home. I am becoming increasingly concerned that the NHS will soon cease to be.......And that (it appears to me) is what these people want.

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  • the nhs is being set up to fail by this tory govt

    then they can move thier friends in from the private sector, so they can cash in, then give the tory party more money to spend on the election campain in 2015

    why would you ever trust the tories with the nhs

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  • I so agree with all of the above, I believe that the Govt is setting the NHS up to fail, good ole Tories !

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  • One problem is, that when the front-line clinicians are kept busy and short-staffed, they have less physical and mental energy to get organised and plan their protests. This is often interpreted as apathy. The union officers need to support them with planning if they don't have the time to do it themselves.

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