Agenda for Change was 'rushed' and patients may never see the benefits

A report by the King's Fund has criticised the implementation of the NHS pay reform, Agenda for Change, highlighting that is was rushed and exceeding all costs estimates.

Agenda for Change was 'rushed' and patients may never see the benefits
Agenda for Change was 'rushed' and patients may never see the benefits

The pay deal was rolled out in December 2004 and affects over 1 million nurses and other staff. However, the King's Fund report Realising the Benefits? Assessing the Implementation of Agenda for Change states that patients will never feel the intended benefits unless health service leaders secure changes in working patterns and productivity.

The report was generated from case studies of 10 NHS trusts and interviews with officials, union representatives and managers at national and SHA level, as well as with NHS employers and unions.

King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said: 'Agenda for Change was intended to modernise more than a million NHS jobs and improve patient care. However, this limited but important study shows that there are few signs it has delivered increased productivity or transformed practice and there is evidence that many staff are far from satisfied with the process.'

However, UNISON deputy head of health, Mike Jackson, has said that whilst they see the report as worthwhile, they are disappointed that the King's Fund has reacted in negative way.

'Agenda for Change has not overspent,' said Mr Jackson, 'It has been underfunded by the Government.'

'Patient care cannot be improved if there are staff shortages and high staff turnover,' he said.

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