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Control of nurses’ pay handed to employers


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”.


Readers' comments (39)

  • 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:
    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 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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