Pay reform sets scene for NHS modernisation

first_imgHailed as the most radical change since its foundation in 1948, QuentinReade reports on the ‘win-win’ salary package that will help bring the NHS intothe twenty-first centuryA deal to give NHS pay the biggest shake-up since the service began has beendrawn-up. Negotiated by 17 organisations including UK health departments and NHSemployers, trade unions and employee groups, the ‘Agenda for Change’ packagewill raise wages, simplify and modernise pay scales and provide an incentive toboost skills and work unsociable hours. It will also create more time fordoctors to spend on specialist work. The existing pay system, which has been described as ‘arcane’ by theGovernment, consists of almost 650 different staff grades and numerousarrangements for leave, overtime and working hours. The package will apply to all staff apart from doctors, dentists and seniormanagers. It is still subject to further consultation and pilot schemes, andmust be accepted by union members before it can be implemented.  However, it has been widely welcomed by HRand health professionals alike, and many claim it is the way forward. The Department of Health’s head of HR Andrew Foster said the reform willencourage new working practices, break down outdated barriers and producebetter, faster care for patients. “As staff develop into new roles,” he said, “so patients willbenefit.” He added that by 2005-2006, the system should help to free up around 2 percent of consultants’ time and between 10 and 15 per cent of other hospitaldoctors’ time. Elaine Way, president of the Association of Healthcare Human ResourceManagement (AHHRM), welcomed the announcement, calling the Agenda for Change awin-win situation. She said: “[The Agenda for Change] will facilitate new ways of workingto support service modernisation and it will fairly reward staff for gainingand applying new skills.” She added that the new pay system being underpinned by a national jobevaluation system was essential to its success. “This will enable us to address equal pay for work of equal valueissues,” she explained. Way said that the NHS has suffered recruitment and retention difficultiesfor particular posts and in certain areas, but pay reform and other measureswill help deal with these difficulties. Lew Swift, head of personnel at the Walton Centre for Neurology andNeurosciences, Liverpool, said the changes are “long-overdue”. “[The deal] is a hugely impressive achievement – it will take usthrough to the future,” he said. A key element is a reduction in the number of NHS pay grades. Mike Griffin,HR director at Kings College Hospital NHS Trust, said the current NHS system isso complex that many external payroll providers would not work with the NHS,and different allowances meant that staff salaries fluctuated on a weeklybasis. Griffin believes the changes can reduce staff vacancies within the NHS andcreate stronger links between groups. “There is greater integration between the groups in the NHS. Thedevelopment of a single pay system is an important psychological step to breakdown [the barriers],” he said. “I see it as an opportunity to accelerate the pace of change within theservice.” Griffin said that a great deal of detail still needs to be established and implementingand communicating the change will be a major undertaking, but he expects agreat deal of support and training. Health secretary Alan Milburn called the Agenda for Change “the mostradical modernisation of the NHS pay system since its foundation in 1948”.He said: “In essence, it is about paying more to get more, so thatstaff who take on new responsibilities get extra rewards. Agenda for Changeproves that negotiation works. “This is a ‘something for something’ deal. Pay for modernisation.”The NHS Confederation – the body which represents the organisations thatmake up the NHS – also welcomed the plan. Gill Morgan, chief executive of the confederation, said: “Agenda forChange has represented the largest and most complex pay negotiations that haveever taken place in the NHS – and we congratulate the trade unions and four UKhealth departments on this achievement. “[The] announcement clearly demonstrates how the Government, employersand staff organisations can work together to produce a modernised pay systemthat benefits staff, employers and patients alike. “We believe the deal gives staff a fair and transparent pay system withclear career progression, and gives employers greater flexibility to createroles that better meet patient needs,” Morgan added. to know…– The existing pay system, which has been described as ‘arcane’by the Government, consists of almost 650 different staff grades and numerousarrangements for leave, overtime and working hours– The new system will introduce a simple set of core terms andconditions, based on eight pay bands and a standard working week of 37.5 hours– The new pay system will work fundamentally on the basis of jobevaluation. This means that the basic pay staff receive will reflect theknowledge, responsibility, skills and effort required in their job, rather thantheir historic job title or occupational group– To progress through the pay system, employees will have tomeet certain competencies, using the new Knowledge and Skills Framework– There will be a new NHS minimum wage of £10,100 a year– A newly qualified ‘grade D’ nurse will earn £17,000 – up 6per cent from £16,005– Local NHS employers will have greater freedom and flexibilityto create new types of jobs and pay staff more money in expensive regions suchas London – More than £110m is being invested in the capital’s workforce,and an additional £55m will go to staff in the south of EnglandThe pilot scheme sites– James Paget Healthcare NHS Trust – Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital NHS Trust – City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Trust – Papworth Hospital NHS Trust n Aintree Hospitals NHS Trust – Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust – South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust – West Kent NHS and Social Care Trust n Herefordshire NHS Primary Care Trust– Central Cheshire Primary Care Trust – North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust – East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Pay reform sets scene for NHS modernisationOn 10 Dec 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img

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