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Regional pay shun 'to benefit Torbay'

By Herald Express  |  Posted: September 03, 2012

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TORBAY health chiefs will reap the benefits of not joining a controversial move to introduce regional pay for NHS workers, say critics.

Lib-Dem MP for Torbay Adrian Sanders branded the proposals by 20 health trusts across the South West to impose longer working hours for staff, and cuts to salary and leave 'a big error' which would break up the national service.

He welcomed that neither Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust nor South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Torbay Hospital, had joined the consortium, and predicted they would benefit from higher morale and productivity as a result.

Former GP-turned-MP for Totnes Dr Sarah Wollaston, who sits on the Commons Health Select Committee, also opposed any move that would lead to wage cuts for health workers in the region.

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She said the South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium had to take account of housing affordability and staff recruitment.

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust and Devon Partnership NHS Trust are among those signed up to the group, which has been branded a 'cartel' by critics.

Unions have accused the trusts of undermining staff morale and patient care.

Mr Sanders said: "I think they are making a big error and breaking up what is a national health service."

He was pleased the Bay's health trusts were 'not going down this route'.

"I think they will benefit from staff morale and higher productivity as a consequence of not joining the consortium," he said.

Dr Wollaston said: "I would not support any move to cut NHS staff wages in the South West.

"There are real issues with housing affordability and staff recruitment which the alliance must recognise."

Staff in the Bay who work in mental health care for Devon NHS Partnership Trust will be affected and unions estimate this may be as many as 750 workers.

Tanya Palmer of Unison's South West region said: "The trade unions are well aware of the challenging financial times and the intense pressures on the NHS, but rogue employers involved in the consortium are risking the chance of reaching a national agreement. They are also undermining staff morale, stable industrial relations, staff recruitment and retention and, ultimately, patient care.

"The reality of these proposals are about pay cuts, the consequences for the region will be disastrous and will result in skilled health workers being driven out of the region, taking money out of the local economy and deepening the healthcare postcode lottery."

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  • reiwruwiou  |  September 04 2012, 12:22PM

    Worrying, especially when you consider that the public sector underpins the entire economy in the South West. If you encourage the "minimum wage" culture prevelant in the private sector in this part of the country then you increase the area's economic reliance on tourism, and one bad summer / outbreak of foot & mouth / change of Holiday preference could leave the region ruined.

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  • Sinjis_Things  |  September 03 2012, 5:55PM

    I have been to Torbay hospital a few time in he past couple of years and I have nothing but praise for the medical staff I have dealt with and it would be scandalous to even think of paying them less.

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  • conundrum  |  September 03 2012, 10:38AM

    Another day another problem. Almost every day brings more bad news about the destructive effects of the Coalition's Health and Social Care Bill: Yesterday Dr Mark Porter, the leader of the British Medical Association described the coalition's reforms as shrinking the services available to the public due to creeping privatisation and the savings being imposed. Today , we hear about the increasing use of temporary staff on 'zero hours' contracts. and the revelation that Mckinsey, the consultants employed by the Government, actually predicted that the re-organisation would increase complexity, but Lansley still insisted bureaucracy would be reduced, probably in the same way that Cameron solemnly promised 'No top-down re-organisation of the NHS'. It's good to hear that Sarah Wollaston is opposed to pay cuts for NHS staff, but what exactly did she expect when she voted in favour of a bill specifically designed to turn the NHS over to private companies and subject it to funding cuts?

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