Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Savings pressures mount on staff terms and conditions

  • 11 Comments

A hospital trust Bedfordshire has proposed breaching the Agenda for Change pay and conditions agreement in order to save money, while others are seeking to cut fringe benefits such as compassionate leave.

Luton and Dunstable Hospital Foundation Trust is looking at measures such as reducing workers’ annual leave and sick pay entitlement to meet a savings target of £16m.

Documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal, show these include £1.5m potential savings from freezing pay increments and £1m from decreasing annual leave by two-five days. Around £400,000 could also be saved from treating a bank holiday as a working day and a further £600,000 from reducing sickness entitlement.

A spokeswoman for the trust said: “We’re operating in-line with Agenda for Change at the moment.”Regional Unison organiser Lorraine Kalaher said the proposals had been raised informally with the union, but added: “We have a national agreement and we won’t be looking at any ways to change that.”

Foundation trusts are allowed to “opt out” of Agenda for Change but only one has so far done so – Southend University Hospital Foundation Trust in 2006.

A national proposal from NHS Employers to freeze increments in return for a promise of compulsory redundancies was recently rejected by unions (news, page 5, 25 January).

Nursing Times has also learnt that trusts are beginning to cut fringe benefits, including family friendly policies, in an attempt to make savings.

Paid carer leave was removed at Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust in January and at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust in September.

Nurses at the former Mayday Trust in south London had pay protection cut from five years to two years in December in order to equalise terms with staff at Croydon Community Health Services, which had offered no protection before the two merged in August.

The Royal College of Nursing’s head of policy Howard Catton said there was a “chasm” between the rhetoric of making savings through service redesign and the “reality” of changes to pay and conditions. He said: “It’s a deeply worrying development.”

A seat on the board is now tweeting at @Aseatontheboard, follow for all the latest campaign news! Ensure nurses have a seat on consortia boards!

  • 11 Comments

Readers' comments (11)

  • Perhaps in response all hospital staff could "opt out" from doing certain parts of their jobs (without endangering patient welfare of course)!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • As an employee of Kent & Medway NHS & Social Care Partnership Trust, I can confirm that our Trust did withdraw paid carers leave even though it was objected to by the unions. What gets me is that nothing was done by the unions following this! It seems that in this current climate, we'll just roll over for risk of losing our jobs. Where will it stop? It seems from this article that Trusts will do whatever they want including reducing contracted annual leave etc. Isn't it time, as one of the largest workforces in the world, that we stand up for ourselves? Most of us work over our hours, work through unpaid breaks and even subsidised travel as the mileage amount no longer covers the cost of fuel! Enough is enough!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • We have more power than the government and trust managers realise - what would happen if we didnt step in to cover shifts at the last minute? How would wards operate if we didnt work the extra unpaid hours? Come on ladies and gents, I think it is now time to ensure you work the hours you are employed to do and do the job you are employed to do. No more working through your unpaid lunch break, by law you are entitled to a break, so take it, you are no better thought of if you dont and who knows, you may even find you have enough energy to smile for the rest of the shift :-)

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Totally agree with above, 'work to rule' doing only the hours you are contracted to do would certainly let the Government and NHS managers know that NHS staff are at breaking point!
    They need to be reminded that many of us have families and hefty financial responsiblities too, which is not being helped by rising costs of petrol/gas/electric as well as other things and unless the government puts a freeze on such things they cannot expect us to take pay cuts no matter how its disguised!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The only proposal I agree with is the reduction in sick pay entitlement. As a manager I am increasingly frustrated with the amount of sickness taken in the work place. Some of the excuses I am given would not be tolerated in other areas of work. The additional pressures we all talk about are generally as a result of excessive sickness and absenteism. This however does need to be nationally agreed as per agenda for change. Otherwise I'm all for striking because of the continued abuse of our pay and conditions from this government.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • its time we took action enough is enough
    this govt is wrecking our nhs on a daily basis and lets face it the CE will be tory voters anyway
    work to rule or strike
    i only work my contracted hours no more no less
    soon as i finish im out the door

    you dont get thought of any better from doing unpaid work
    stand up for yourself and just do what your paid to do..then see what happens
    the nhs is run on good will

    well this shower of a govt has squeezed all the good will out of me so they get nothing for free!!!!!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • My god, the rot is really setting in now! As regards sick pay, I am never off sick as I'm lucky enough to enjoy good health, but I would expect to get what I'm entitled to if I became unwell and needed to take sick time.

    We had better get militant now as goodness only knows what the trusts and Dept of Health will do to us next.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "Anonymous | 2-Mar-2011 11:20 pm

    The only proposal I agree with is the reduction in sick pay entitlement. As a manager I am increasingly frustrated with the amount of sickness taken in the work place. Some of the excuses I am given would not be tolerated in other areas of work."

    May I ask if you have worked outside of the NHS? The sickness terms and conditions of the NHS are identical to those of the private companies that I have worked for in the past. People used to have 'duvet' days with the feeblest of excuses in those companies, it isn't unique to the NHS.

    If trusts are changing the terms and conditions of AfC then surely they are in breach of contract. To change T&C of a contract requires that both parties have to agree to the changes, they cannot be changed unilaterally.

    Will the unions back employees who take their employers to an employment tribunal for breach of contract?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous | 2-Mar-2011 11:20 pm

    "The only proposal I agree with is the reduction in sick pay entitlement. As a manager I am increasingly frustrated with the amount of sickness taken in the work place. Some of the excuses I am given would not be tolerated in other areas of work. The additional pressures we all talk about are generally as a result of excessive sickness and absenteism. This however does need to be nationally agreed as per agenda for change. Otherwise I'm all for striking because of the continued abuse of our pay and conditions from this government."

    If people feel the need to go off sick they usually need to do so for some good reason which may not be directly apparent to you. Perhaps you should investigate this a little further before damning all your staff. besides if one is ill, one is not obliged to give a diagnosis or an excuse, especially to
    you - professional secrecy act!

    Where is your compassion and understanding as a professional nurse and perhaps you need to examine you own attitudes first and the effect you have on others. Nurses are also entitled to be treated with respect from you as well as from everybody else!

    "As a manager...", la, di, la, di, da!
    Anybody can call themselves a manager
    but management training helps.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • That is the tragic thing about nursing. it is full of silly women tripping over everybody else's feet trying to manage whilst the rest of us, a select few, are trying to get on, unhampered, with the job of looking after patients, struggling against the odds in what often seems like fighting a losing battle, to our harassment and to the detriment of the patients.

    When I trained patients were central to nursing care and I had always understood, until more recently, that was the purpose of hospitals and other healthcare facilities and their staff!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Show 1020results per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.