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

Trusts seek discussion on changes to out of hours pay arrangements


Health service employers have insisted they do not want to rip up the Agenda for Change contract, but instead want to “reform and update” it.

It is only two years since a deal was agreed to make changes to the contract, including arrangements for sick pay, preceptorship payments and pay progression for senior nurses.

But since then ministers and managers have repeatedly stated a desire to water down further parts of Agenda for Change.

As part of the latest 1% pay deal with the government, unions agreed earlier this month to fresh talks on possible changes to terms and conditions in the contract.



Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, noted that changes to unsocial hours payments, worth £1.8bn, “was one part of the conversation”.

“Unsocial hours are a priority area for us, but that’s not the only conversation we want to have”

Danny Mortimer

But he claimed he was not seeking a total renegotiation of the deal. “We are agreeing a timetable with unions for talks and we see a commitment on their part to have those discussions,” he said in an interview with Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal.

“We have always wanted a rounded conversation about the contract,” he said. “Unsocial hours are a priority area for us, but that’s not the only conversation we want to have.

“This is about taking a pay system that is 12-15 years old and updating it and reforming it. I don’t think that is an unreasonable conversation for us or the unions to want to have,” he added.

Mr Mortimer rejected the suggestion employers had failed to properly implement past deals, arguing it was often due to a failure to achieve agreement locally between trusts and trade unions.

On pay increments for Agenda for Change staff, one of the main targets of the government’s dispute with unions, Mr Mortimer hinted that he was confident there was room for discussion on the issue.

“The idea that we aren’t able to have a mature conversation about how increments can be changed or made part of the pay deal isn’t consistent with what’s happened over the years,” he said.

Mr Mortimer also used the interview to highlight concerns over what he called “the perception of fairness” in widening differences between doctors and the more than one million NHS staff covered by Agenda for Change.

As part of the new pay deal, it was agreed to cap the maximum amount of salary used to calculate redundancy at £80,000 with a minimum floor of £23,000 to help the lower paid.

As a result, employers can also no longer make “top-up” payments for those made redundant over the age of 50 and who choose to retire early.

However, the British Medical Association said the cap does not apply to its members, as doctors were not covered by Agenda for Change.

Mr Mortimer said: “Employers aren’t happy that doctors are in a different place in terms of cost of living and redundancy than other staff. The largest group of highest paid staff have the most generous redundancy entitlements.”

He also noted that doctors were continuing to receive pay rises and increment progression, while Agenda for Change unions had agreed to concessions.

Mr Mortimer, who recently joined NHS Employers from Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, said: “It’s about some equality of approach across the workforce.”


Readers' comments (35)

  • Okay folks lets think about this.

    If enhanced payments are stopped, do you not think your contracts will have a clause saying that you work unsocial hours or will not be employed.

    ( Sunday trading came in, promising that people would never be coerced into working on that day, it would be by choice. Oh yeah)

    I have asked friends and acquaintances what the average staff nurse on the ward earns. They have no idea.
    For me, a return to practice nurse ( I went back to the basic pay level) my 1% pay rise is 11.7p per hour before tax, NI and pension.

    As a trained grade 5 nurse with responsibility of always the 'can lose your PIN' hanging over my head, my enhancements are less than the group of untrained people I work with.
    They do a great job, could not work without them, but don't I do a great job too.

    The public hear about our failings. In an Acas publication, they admit that for disciplinary action, 'a doctor has to harm someone, a nurse has to slam a door loudly'.

    That sums up how much protection we have.

    I love the idea of my job. But these are the facts.

    For 365 days of the year, you are subject to working and nights if you work internal rotation.
    You will only know which of those times you have free when the roster is published.

    You can request 5 specific days a month other than annual leave, but don't make any positive plans, because they may not be approved. The needs of the service are paramount.

    If someone works M-F you have 8 regular days a month in which you can plan to travel, look after relatives, meet up with old friends, accept invitations, oh and evenings.

    This most of us are denied.
    Our PIN is subject to justification, not only in our working hours, but also in any given situation outside of that, so if our actions are thought to be unprofessional outside of our place of work, we can still face disciplinary action.

    What I am pointing out is that we as nurses accept this is part of the deal, but I would like to call for the world to know this is how it is.
    I would like to ask any member of the government , what they know about our working conditions, pay levels. They are ill informed and then make decisions out of ignorance.
    This will only lead to heartache and unrest.
    Most of us are only doing this 'vocation' because we see it as worthwhile and needed.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Will you lot stop WHINING!

    Tories now the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

    Easy target, you lot. When your pension terms and conditions were ripped up, you did nothing except moan. Now, you are working longer, paying more in and getting less out. It gave politicians permission to do whatever they wanted to your terms and conditions - after all, politicians are used to folk moaning!

    You will come on here and moan and moan and moan. But do nowt.your salaries, terms and conditions will reduce until they they are worth nowt and a few blokes at the top of the tree are taking home fat cat salaries and oh so pleased with themselves.

    Do something about it or shut up moaning. Nursing is the most powerful staff group in the NHS yet we do nothing except moan. Stop moaning and do something - otherwise we will have no else to blame.

    Having said that, I wrote the same when the pension pot was being mugged and we did bugger all then!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 8 pay days to go never thought i would be wishing my career away when i started 35 yrs ago. its very sad.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous | 26-Mar-2015 8:58 am

    from Anonymous | 26-Mar-2015 7:20 am

    many thanks for your explanation which throws more light on this strange phenomenon and I agree with your entirely. Nursing would do fine without all of this continual political intervention leading to many quirky inconsistencies. surely there are enough bright nurses and nursing leaders to work the organisation of the profession and their care out for themselves?!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • i was in at the beginning of Agenda for change and worked for two years on bandings. the questionnaire and the computer system that worked alongside were supposed to be fail safe and fair. depending on who was inputting it could be swayed to suggest a higher banding.!!! Everyone wanted to be a specialist in their field hoping for a higher band, in fact most came under 'interest in a specialty' no real evidence that they were. you have part time staff on band 7 and 8 what a nonsense. Trusts had the choice at the very beginning to change locally things like unsocial hours etc they were too lazy to put measures into place. whoever had the bright idea to think up Agenda for Change had to know it was going to cost a lot of money , the Whitley Scale though old was fairer especially when you still had Enrolled nurses, now everyone is on band 5. Enrolled nurses are worth every penny but there are still some things they cannot do. What a blunder this scheme was in reality.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Show 102050results 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.