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Lansley: NHS pay cannot be exempt from financial pressures


The new health secretary has suggested the coalition government will seek to review the Agenda for Change pay deal, after saying NHS staff pay should not be exempt from wider financial pressures.

In an interview on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme Andrew Lansley promised there would be real terms NHS budget increases but warned the NHS might face greater efficiency savings than planned and that pay would not be protected.

He said: “We need to change: so many people across NHS I’ve talked to understand this, and they actually say ‘we can’t go on like this’. There may have been in Agenda For Change a need for one-off increases in pay and comparability in the NHS, but that has happened.

“There is not now a basis upon which people in the NHS can expect that it is exempted from the kind of broader pressures,” he added.

He said the rate of inflation in the NHS had sometimes run at three times that of the private sector and that this was “not sustainable”.

He said: “People across the NHS know that after a decade in which there has been a decline in productivity and a rise in inflation in the NHS, then the time has come for them to achieve efficiency savings.

Mr Lansley said the planned efficiency savings of around 3 per cent a year needed to achieve £20bn of savings over the next three years would still need to happen. He added: “We may need to do more, because of increases in demand. ”

RCN chief executive and general secretary Dr Peter Carter said: “The RCN welcomes the commitment given by the health secretary to increase NHS funding in real terms over the coming years.

“Demand for health services is only going to grow and we need a properly resourced NHS to deliver safe and high quality care. We do also acknowledge that there will be tough times ahead for the NHS and we all have a part to play in ensuring we get value for money for our health spending.

“Nurses wish to work with the government to deliver fresh thinking on how savings can be made while protecting patient care,” said Dr Carter.


Readers' comments (40)

  • The difference in grading reflects the strength or weakness of locally negotiated pay for AFC rather than the need for culling certain grades. Only got a 6 for an outreach service, more fool you, we got a 6 for E grade in A&E - the same hospital had no band 6 nurses working on the wards in certain departments just 5 and the 7 doing management.

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  • Of course the only way to increase productivity and decrease funding would to be in increase competition for promotion.That should raise the bar a little. Maybe employ a few more MBA's in senior nursing roles while we are getting revolutionary on the medieval organizational ass of the NHS. I can guarantee this will never happen, instead we will persist in growing our own for the village fete prize marrow club.

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  • The tories will implement a pay freeze, freeze on increments and general downgrading of nurses where they can get away with it.

    Mr Cameron has a short memory and no gratitude for the care his daughter recieved.

    They will be out in 5 years anyway....but by God will they have done some damage.

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  • The key issue has to be where can money be saved without touching the frontline care given by any nurse, no matter what band. My greatest concern when I walk down the corridors of the Trust I work in, is the number of people sat in an artificial commissioning and provider structure. I would support the suggestion earlier, where budgets were placed where they are needed at the interface with patients and those controlling the budgets are able to purchase from the cheapest source, not a designated source. It is not helpful to generalize on the role and function of different bands when in reality it is the structure of the organisation where greatest savings could be made.

    I think it says very little for our profession that we have verbal fisticuffs over clinical roles.

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  • I think that everyone is jumping the gun. Why don't we just wait and see what happens. Sometimes I think that nurses forget we have great numbers and if the government do try to free pay then work to your contract and I mean to your proper contract. You will be supprised how this will effect powers above when they have no staff to cover sickness or that post that has never been filled! Please stop fighting amongst each other. By the way some of us band 7 qnd 8's do work really hard.

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  • sorry I meant freeze pay

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  • We need to form one collective voice and gather under a union that truly has the nurses best interest at heart. The RCN has lost is way and seems more like a puppet willing to dance to the goverments beat, Uinison has to wide a spectrum so untill we have a union that trully reflects the nursing community then we are stuck.


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  • Please everyone stop fighting. With this new government we will have to endure cuts whether in the public or private sector. The NHS is a complex organisation and we do need people at all different levels and all seem to work really hard to me so no-one needs to be criticised. I do think really hard times are on there way so we should support each other.

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  • I wouldn't mind a pay freeze for the next 1-2 years, as long as:
    1. there is a reciprocal guarantee of job protection, and
    2. it applies to everyone, including all managers and chief executives.

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  • as a paid up union member it is laughable that we call the rcn a union ,we could learn a lesson from nurses in Ireland who were ready to strike for their right to decent pay ,why does the Rcn not support its members and actively speak out against crap goverment which it appears the majority of you appear to have forgot was a labour goverment which has screwed the NHS and economy in general and now we whinge and wail about what the tory goverment have to do to rectify the financial mess we we were left in by the corrupt labour goverment ,and in regards to the excess amount of managers within the NHS ,all were funded by labour quangos in order to meet Goverment targets or as we Nurses on the frontline of care like to call it '' bloody useless paper exercises '' which impact detrimentally on actual patient care

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