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Control of nurses’ pay handed to employers

  • 39 Comments

NHS organisations will be handed control over nurses’ pay under ambitious plans to reform the NHS announced by health secretary Andrew Lansley yesterday.

The government white paper Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS says that pay decisions should be “led by healthcare employers rather than imposed by the government”.

It says that in future all individual employers will have the right to determine pay for their own staff, as is the case for foundation trusts.

Under the new plans, employers will also be responsible for leading negotiations on new employment contracts and will take the lead in providing advice on staffing and cost pressures.

The white paper also outlines plans to give employers “greater autonomy and accountability” for planning and developing the workforce, and “greater professional ownership of the quality of education and training”.

  • 39 Comments

Readers' comments (39)

  • Don't want to be a knee jerk carpist, but I see a) wages and benefits dropping b) educational investments and standards dropping. I hardly a great fan of the last government, but at least they invested in nurse education and made some headway in the appalling career development that existed before. Unless the RCN and Unison come out fighting we going to get screwed. Actually forget the last sentence, we've got to come out fighting. Are you going to be happy that your colleagues are on different - read poorer - contracted rates than you are? It will mean less movement in an already almost stagnant workforce where people are afraid of leaving a job, because the promotion will mean loosing benefits such as pensions.

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  • Hmm, I'm not sure about this. I do not see it totally in a bad light as Anonymous | 13-Jul-2010 11:15 am, as I believe this CAN have some positive effects if used correctly. However, the last poster is completely right that we will have to come out fighting and ensure that these positive measures get put into place, and they are fair to ALL Nurses.

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  • I think it is about time that the NHS realised that one reason nurses join agencies is because the pay is better. If the NHS payed bank staff a decent rate they would do less agency work and have a far greater incentive to stay with the NHS banks. This would then save money in the long run as the NHS would not have to pay so much in agency fees.

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  • About time we form nursing consortia so we too can be in the front line of negotiation and incontrol of our own destinies.

    Stuff sitting round waiting for things let's get involved NOW.

    Anyone interested?

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  • Perhaps a longer term idea is that all staff for the NHS worker is to register with and are employed via agencies and not direct as at present. Just thought!

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  • Martin Gray

    Count me in Sharon. Although I'm retiring it I am still in favour of nurses having their own union, not the current choices of Unison and the RCN. I will also have time to spare to get more involved than many others.

    Not sure what this will mean in terms of pay rates but can see a lot of discrepancies across the board.

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  • Hell yeah count me in! Viva la revolution!

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  • Paediatric Nurses
    £0 - 1 per hour London; City of London
    Was this advert for real ????

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  • Ummmm
    There is NO WAY I would want individual pay agreements from different trusts. Too many problems, and you already havent got back up as in a union.
    End of!
    Oh BTW Nice to see more positive input as to forming that much needed nurses union is maybe on its way....:)
    You go guys!!

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  • I agree absolutely with the first poster, and coming from a very isolated area with very poor pay locally and a captive audience (very low turnover rates) I can already see what will happen. the people (not necessarily those with the relevant qualifications) who know people will get the better pay: this has already happened so no change there

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  • Prediction - pay will freeze or not rise so as anyone in the nursing profession can afford to live. This will then affect recruitment and retention. Good nurses will leave for pastures offering a better salary. In about 10 years they'll be offering all kinds of pay rises and incentives to keep what little they have of experienced nurses and encourage new blood. Hospitals that are under achieving will not be able to offer the pay incentives to recruit experienced nurses and will eventually be taken over by Bupa et al! This sounds very bleak but it also has a de ja vu about it. I agree whole heartedly with Sharon Bates. It’s about time that nurses took a stand for themselves and had a union run by nurses for nurses (a proper one). Sharon I think you could be just the voice us nurses are looking for.

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  • Agree with Anne, many British Nurses are already leaving for Oz and Canada because the pay and conditions are so lamentable here. If we don't act soon, things will get worse.

    However, if we do stick together and find our voice, then I believe we can actually turn this to our advantage! If the new and improved NHS wants Nurses, it can bloody well pay us what we deserve and give us good working conditions! That is what we should be demanding! And we will get it, as long as we stick together and find our voice!

    And Martin sorry about the late reply on another post but yeah count me in for a new union run by and for Nurses too!

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  • Martin

    Me too, Heres a new nurses Union. I was a damn good steward for NUPE in the old days even had our local chief nurse as a member.

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  • Nurse will have to stick together what ever Union they belong to.

    Prepare to fight to defend pay and conditions. If they manage to sack thousands of nurses then the natural impact will be to depress wages.

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  • Compensation for a work done and working condition is always the problem for NHS nurses and having a union for nurses that fight for nurses right is an excellent idea how i wish i could join you guys but im abroad,when i was in UK i was complaining how hard my job in AE and im doing alot of none nursing job and my salary is less but when it comes to benefits i think nurses in UK are very lucky compared to nurses in the US,in the US they dont have maternity leave with pay,in the US vacation leave is computed according to the number of hours work unlike in UK its fixed every month,every public holiday is compensated if you are working by having your off in a different day,you dont have to pay extra for your health insurance and its free in the NHS,sick leave is in UK is paid in the US its not its deducted in your lvacation leave but working in the US gives the nurse the freedom to manage her patient,salary is good,working condition is beter than UK because nurses only do the nursing job and nurses contribution is valued and nursing assistan knows there boundaries and job description well,they always report to nurses and high tech machines that make nurses job better.Nurses in the US can demand pay rise if they think they have more experience and qualification,assessment tools and paperworks are appropriate to the patient and time savers,we have clerks who enters laboratory workout ordered by the docotrs in the computer.If UK nurses are compensated well and working conditions are good plus with the very good benefits that they have now then they must be the luckiest nurses in the world how i wish.

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  • Martin Gray

    Well there seems to be people willing to try and set up a union; get in touch and let's see what we can do. Someone has to make an effort otherwise there is no progress, only procrastination.

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  • Sharon Bates | 13-Jul-2010 4:34 pm

    About time we form nursing consortia so we too can be in the front line of negotiation and incontrol of our own destinies.

    Stuff sitting round waiting for things let's get involved NOW.

    Anyone interested?

    I have mentioned this in a few posts now!!

    Facebook and Myspace are a good starting place to get nurses together or use the nuber 10 petitions website (http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/), or maybe the NT will help!!

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  • Hi Martin, totally up for doing my bit, just need to figure out how! How do I get in touch?

    Anonymous | 16-Jul-2010 9:25 am, I have to say I am normally vehemently against facebook, but I think in this instance it may be a really good idea to set one up as a union page (not a personal one) to get more people involved? That's a damn fine idea!

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  • Let's march on London and demand safe staffing ratios and pay for all the hours we work. Restaurant workers, flight attendents and everyone else in the entire freaking country already have that. And they sure as hell don't have all the life and death responsibility.

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  • Anna....Above post
    I have suggested a few times organising a rally in a major city...Such a great way to get the public AND media involved at the same time....much needed publicity at all levels. Every hospital should participate and then you can plough forward with your new union! Facebook would be the place to start correspondance.
    An impending major nurses rally will also give NHS and Government major panic attacks as they see the oncoming slaughter....Oh just give them a box of Alprazolam each!....:)

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  • I'm definately up for a rally (hell hold me back or I'd be storming parliament with pitchforks!)

    I think organisation through something like Facebook may be a good place to start organising this.

    It will be really interesting to see the results of this NT survey to see how many Nurses are actually up for striking. Indeed it will be interesting to see if they publish the results if it is in the high 80 or 90%

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  • Martin Gray

    Not sure Mike, I thought we could message each other through this site but I can't locate any link to do so.

    Am on Facebook and not that hard to find. I agree it may be a good form of media for nurses to unite; not sure there would be enough support for a rally though, it would be difficult to organise nationally and having people get the time off to coincide with the propose date.

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  • Am not on facebook I'm afraid. Too many busybodies and witchunters in the NHS. I will look into it though.

    I'm not so sure I agree about the rally though, yes it would be difficult to organise and yes individuals may have problems with time off etc. However I think that there are enough people like ourselves who are starting to feel very strongly about the state of the profession and the many problems it faces, and I think that once the snowball is thrown, an avalanche will be created.

    Remember Nurses are one of the single largest workforce bodies in the country.

    It only takes a small rally, in one or two cities, to get the ball rolling.

    Perhaps if a rally was held over a three day weekend, to allow those who can't make it one day to attend the next? It would have to be in numerous cities at the same time though, not everyone can afford to travel to London for example!

    But these problems CAN be ironed out.

    I think that a start may be organising things on Facebook or similar, the NT survey on striking will also be very very telling on how well it will succeed or not.

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  • You all want and need change so much that the only way you will be able to do it is to do it yourselves NURSES FOR NURSES.
    What is going through my mind is the following:
    1.Rallies.
    Rallies DO work, as they involve your main supports which are the media and public.
    However they are not organised overnight, and they would take weeks of preparation as in working with different authorities such as councils to work out and get permission/ advice on rallyroutes etc, Police to work with for Public safety on the day of the rally. The appropriate authoriteis have to be approached and worked with to get the ball rolling for a rally.
    We in Melbourne had the union to do all of this for us, and all we had to do was turn up. You are not that fortunate unless its worth informing the unions of your intensions and asking them for their support. ( I hum as I write this bit! )
    You need a team that can work together, do the research and start the ball rolling.

    2. Facebook.
    I agree that maybe it is not the best of sites to get members to join. There can be problems with it as in privacy. One person could make a websites up which would be a better option I think. Ask an IT expert to make one up for you as part of their support ( You know....a freebie )

    3. Nurses attending.
    Nurses would have ample time to arrange time off to attend once a date has been set, as it may be 2 months down the track once all the legal arrangements have been finalised. If rallies are held in different cities nurses could then return back to work within hours, and the wards would run on skeleton staff and bank/ agency. We had time off to attend the rallies and were docked the time we did not work.( 3 hours ) Of course not all staff would be able to attend but the majority would. Here hospitals did not like the minimal disruption, but it was supported, and the 3 hours lost pay overall was well worth the results.
    I believe you need more than 1 or 2 small rallies for an impact. I think it has to be all over UK on the same day.
    We have had our rallies in the centre of Melbourne and coachloads and literally thousands of nurses turned up from all over Victoria, and the state of Victoria is massive. The rallies made headline news, which is what you need to let Government know you have had enough.
    So yes Mike....a rally would be difficult to organise, but very achievable, and you have to fight for what you want for yourselves as nurses and for your patients.
    You talk about striking....how easy do you think thats going to be to organise?
    This is just as hard an option that may see results that will not be putting the word Strike on your agenda if rallies get your voices heard.
    And yes nurses ARE one of the strongest workforces worlwide not just in UK, so use it to your advantage, and have faith that you can do it.
    A peaceful rally is far better to get your word out than an immediate strike, and we have done both here.



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  • The way I look at it is that, if pay control goes to individual trusts we will end up with another healthcare lottery based on where you are in the country.
    "Rich" trusts will be able to attract the best staff and the smaller, less well-off trusts will end up with staff that are less motivated and so will always under-perform until the Government see the error of their ways and reestablish national payscales.
    Only problem is that then we end up with the high earners being ring-fenced to protect their wages while everybody else plays catch-up.
    I saw this happen in a previous employment (before I started in healthcare) and it creates the sort of situation in the workplace where people say "let them do it, they're paid more than me".
    Do we really want to see nursing descend to this level?
    We work in this industry because we care about our patients and their wellbeing. This policy is putting that at risk so we must fight to stop it now.
    Count me in for a union that will help us to protect our jobs and our patients.

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  • Call me devil's advocate but putting a lot of comments about different issues together....more HCA's trained to be Assistant Practitioners; employers asking for staff without degrees, at cheaper rates perhaps?...another postcode lottery! I consider myself lucky to be retiring and taking my NHS pension in 2 weeks; on the other hand it is scarey to think about being a 'future' patient.

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  • btw....good luck with forming a 'nurse union' we need a strong voice

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  • John Roskilly, this is part of the reason why we have to band together NOW and make sure that we DEMAND the pay that we deserve, not in on individual trust, but across ALL trusts.

    Yes Nurses in one trust can demand higher pay off that individual trust, (and can refuse to work if they do not get it), but what is to stop 'lower paid' trusts from doing the same? Are they not Nurses too?

    Just because a trust will say 'we will pay you x ammount', that does not mean that Nurses HAVE to accept that. We all know they will try and screw us over, because Nursing has let them get away with that in the past ffs!!! It is time that stopped.

    Are we going to stand up and fight for our profession?

    Are we going to get a voice and have a hand in RUNNING the new NHS? Or are we going to be run BY it.

    That is the choice we now face. I know which one I'm going for.

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  • Sorry about the typo in the last one, getting a bit angry as I typed!

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  • we need a decent union for nurses... one that is more proactive.. any takers?

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  • How about all of us Delphine?

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  • i am definately up for a new nurses union which supports safe practice and pay which reflects talent, commitment and results... so many nurses do not support the rcn as a union because they are flakey... we need an independant body solely run by nurses for nurses

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  • Yep I'm up fot that. sod the self serving RCN and wishy washy unison with their false teeth! Where do I sign up?

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  • I work in primary care and practice nurses are often not employed by NHS but by GPs. This is already a lottery and it shocks me that more power is thought to be in good hands by GPs when they cannot get their own house in order. Even on the old system we have nurses not being given their rights of employment and the GPs just flaunt it knowing nothing is done. This new way proposed just supports a system that needed more National structure, not less!

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  • Hmm, it isn't that I agree with you Anonymous | 19-Jul-2010 12:11 pm, (just see my previous comments), but I was thinking, perhaps this will force them to get their house in order? Especially if Nurses start to order them to do so.

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  • I agree with Sharon it is time that nurses stuck together for a united front fighting for the frontline workers. My employers in the South West will surely feel that we should be on a lower pay scale and further learning and education is harder each year to achieve. I would certainly be happy to 'spread the word' in my Trust and get people on board for a union that will uphold the interest of nursing staff.

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  • Anonymous | 19-Jul-2010 8:46 pm, exactly.

    That is why I believe the time is right for action.

    Of course individual trusts and GP's are essentially going to try and stiff us over pay and training.

    But they can only get away with that IF we let them.

    GP's and individual employers are surely an easier opponent than the government?

    Strike action or countrywide rallies, a new Nurses union and the dismantling of the RCN, and better pay, working conditions and status for Nurses! It CAN happen!!!!

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  • PClayton

    Nurses union run by nurses is they way forward!! We have to stick up for ourselves because no one else is going to.

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  • I very much agree with most of the comments above, we need a union that will represent Nurses, RCN and the so call Nurse representatives have all let us down, most of their staff earn fat pay, NMC now force us to maintain their objectivs, Nurses are penalised for simple mistakes, litigation is almost a norm against Nurses, at a stroke of a pen, a Nurse carreer can be ended, yet the government or NHS will not pay what we merit, Nurses training never stops, right from the day start to the day we retire, surely we need our voice to be heard and not be silenced by quangos. Mike

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