Unions have reacted with fury to them move, which raises the spectre that the government could ignore rulings from other pay review bodies such as the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB).
There is currently a 22% vacancy rate among NHS pharmacists across England and Wales. The pharmacists’ pay review body proposed a premium of up to £5,000 a year in order to improve recruitment and retention.
But health secretary Andy Burnham rejected the proposal. He said money was short and the recruitment crisis wasn't severe enough to justify it.
Unison health officer Mike Jackson said that the decision ‘undermines the integrity of the independent review body system.
‘The government and public would be outraged if unions took industrial action over a pay review body award,’ he added.
‘Why should the government get away with such a cavalier action?’
Unite said its research suggested that implementing the body's recommendations would cost £12m a year. This is just half the £24m a year the NHS spent on locum pharmacists last year.
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the RCN, said that nurses ‘rely on the independence and integrity of the NHS pay review body.
‘This must not be allowed to set a precedent,’ he added.
More news from 6 July