UNISON calls on cartel to stick with national agreement

Tim Lezard

NHS logoThe equivalent of 6,000 NHS jobs will be lost as a result of the South West pay cartel, a new report says.

The cartel today published its business case which warns the enormous financial pressure on NHS trusts will be “equivalent to a reduction in whole time equivalent … 6,000 posts over the next three years.”

It adds the “wholesale and arbitrary reductions in workforce … may contribute to a decline in the quality of care offered and therefore patient safety”.

While the report does not identify any immediate plans to implement changes outside the revised Agenda for Change agreement, it does signal future threats to terms and conditions, which could seriously damage industrial relations and quality of care for NHS patients in the region.  Included in these threats are plans to merge so-called ‘back office’ functions and potential introduction of a two-tier employment regime.

UNISON regional secretary Joanne Kaye said: “This report paints a stark picture of financial reality in the NHS which is a world away from the claims of the government that it is protected.

“We will offer every assistance to trusts to campaign jointly on that issue and to lobby government together.  However, to expect NHS staff to carry on bearing the pain, when this week, they have already agreed to make difficult decisions, is unacceptable and shows a callous disregard for their position.

“We call on these trusts to take a step back and work with us to implement the national agreement.  Staff morale across these trusts has already plummeted and we only have to look at the Francis Report in Mid-Staffordshire to see that where trusts pursue financial savings at all costs, there may be dire consequences for patient care.”

UNISON is seeking to present an alternative business case to all trust boards over the coming weeks and to speak to as many members as possible about the cartel proposals.

Although the government has dropped plans to introduce regional pay throughout the UK, nineteen health trusts in the South West seem determined to push ahead with their own plans.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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