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Hospital nurses lose payments worth £500 a year

  • 7 Comments

Nearly half of nurses at a south coast hospital could lose “recruitment and retention” payments worth around £500 a year.

More than 1,000 staff at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust are set to lose the recruitment and retention premium.

Unions have threatened to challenge the move, which trust managers say will save the organisation around £0.5m a year.

The payment was originally introduced in 2002 as an incentive to registered nurses and allied health professionals at a time when the trust was experiencing difficulty with recruitment. It stopped offering the payment to new recruits in 2006 when the recruitment problems eased.

Currently 46% of registered nurses, midwives and nursery nurses still receive the payment – representing around 18% of the trust’s 7,000 staff.

However, staff received letters last week asking them to sign new contracts that would see them cease to receive the monthly payment of around £40 at the end of March.

Trust HR director Graham White said: “Ceasing this payment will reduce our pay bill by around £0.5m a year and remove an inequitable situation which has been allowed to remain for too long, and based on where we are today it is the right thing to do.”   

But unions have accused the trust of acting in a “shoddy way”. Local GMB organiser Gary Palmer said: “The trust has not undertaken a fair process of consultation. Instead they sent out a letter intimidating employees into signing contract variations through the threat of job losses.

“This will not go unchallenged by the GMB and our members,” he added.

In her latest weekly message, Brighton and Sussex chief nurse Sherree Fagge acknowledged that many nurses were “upset and disappointed” by the trust’s decision. She said: “To those of you who will be losing this payment, I am genuinely sorry, but I am afraid we do need to keep making tough decisions, in the interests of the long-term financial stability of the whole hospital.”

She also apologised that many nurses were not told about the move until receiving a formal letter from the trust.

Ms Fagge added: “Personally, I feel very torn about the arguments for and against the withdrawal of this payment. On the one hand the very last thing we want to do is reduce people’s pay at a time when everything else is more expensive and when everyone is working so hard.

“On the other hand, I am sure that the people who don’t receive this payment work as hard as colleagues who do and it cannot be fair that there are nurses working side by side, one of whom receives this supplement and one of whom doesn’t.”

  • 7 Comments

Readers' comments (7)

  • Heavens above!!!! Is this true.? 12 years of a bonus of £ 500.00 . I don't know of a single health professional who gets this. A recruitment and retention payment should be for one year so please colleagues , join the rest of us struggling along on the basic salary. Some of you have had £ 5000 so keep smiling!

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  • ok here we go again. Will this happen to other health care staff to and those in management positions?

    Give us abreak. Ok so it is not right that some get and some don't so spread it out betweem the rest of them

    better still don't give banker large bonuses and put the money to good use.
    Nurses do not get bonuses for going above duty as we often do.

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  • the clue is in the word 'ask' - if one's employer 'asks' you to do something its because they cannot legally TELL you to do it.

    Secondly, just don't sign this new contract, legally - a 'contract' cannot be changed unilaterally = both parties need to agree = so don't.

    Thirdly, if employer worried about different staff doing the same thing but getting paid less........increase their pay - no need to decrease everyone else's pay.

    Simpils.

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  • IT CAN NOT BE FAIR AS WELL TO THOSE ON THE TOP BAND 5 AND 6 THAT THERE IS NO PAY RISE ON THEIR INCREMENT DATE DUE TO FROZEN PAY FOR 2 YEARS WHILST THE LOWER BAND 5 AND 6 CONTINUES TO HAVE THEIR PAY RISE ALMOST £1000 PER YEAR. I THINK THIS IS UNFAIR, IF IT SAYS TO FREEZE, WHY THEY STILL HAVE THEIR PAY RISE ON THEIR INCREMENT DATE AND TOP BANDS DON'T? THEY ARE NURSES WORKING SIDE BY SIDE, ONE OF WHOM RECEIVES THIS SUPPLEMENTS AND ONE OF WHOM DOESN'T.

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  • Golly, how can someone be earning this 'bonus' for so long? Another example of hospital administration gone mad and not monitoring the situation. I can understand a one off payment to recruit and retain but for this long, rubbish???? If I was a nurse who had remained loyal then I would be spitting feathers! How unfair is that? No wonder the NHS is in such a state. How many other Trusts have been doing this?

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  • I used to get the "bonus" when I worked in the NHS. I can only presume that the retention payment was introduced to deter local nurses from commuting to London for higher salary (we are within reasonable travelling distance).

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  • All I can say is that I am shocked that these payments are ongoing. Since when is Southampton not a big teaching hospital with many specialist units so should be able to offer a good range of career jobs for the local population. Even if nurses choose to communte into London the huge train fares would probably negate the London weighting allowance. This is given because it is hugely expensive to live in London - rents and travel to work is very expensive. (It is not a higher salary. We are all on the Agenda for Change pay scales.) We have huge recruitment issues in London too.

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