NHS organisations must maintain tight control of staff costs

NHS Employers has advised NHS organisations to control staff costs even during the current pay freeze, in evidence submitted to the Pay Review Body.

As part of its evidence NHS Employers said: ‘Restraining pay bill costs will be essential to minimise potential job losses and protect patient services.’

Dean Royles, director of the NHS Employers organisation, said ‘tight controls’ were needed to prevent job losses and maintain quality of care.

‘The pay bill for health trusts is often nearly 70% of their budget and even during the government’s pay freeze there is an upward pressure on their paybill costs of 2.4%,’ Mr Royles said.

Mr Royles said that NHS Employers was ‘very concerned’ about the cost of the NHS pay bill.

However he added that the organisation was keen to continue discussions with trade unions about possible ‘negotiated changes to the national pay agreements’.  

In their own evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body, NHS health unions criticised the pay freeze and warned that proposed pension reforms would put additional pressure on an already stretched workforce.

In their joint evidence, 13 health unions warned that quality of care could suffer as staff face ‘increasing demand, shrinking resources and the pay freeze’.

The unions, which represent staff including nurses, midwives, paramedics, therapists, porters, cooks and cleaners said that NHS pay had been devalued over the last few years.

Christina McAnea, Unison NHS staff-side chairwoman said: ‘On top of job cuts and ward closures, growing waiting lists and an attack on their pension, staff face a reorganisation on an unprecedented scale.

‘By imposing a pay freeze for the second year running, the government is adding insult to injury.’

Rachael Maskell, Unite head of health, said: ‘The NHS workforce are facing unprecedented challenges to their pay, in the midst of mass reorganisation and cuts, in some cases losing 25% in pay as a result.  

‘These cuts to services and employment terms are causing morale in the NHS to fall significantly,’ she added.

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