N.H.S. England




NHS staff council accept government pay offer

The RCN met NHS unions and employers yesterday to decide on next steps regarding the government’s pay offer

 The RCN met NHS unions and employers yesterday to decide on next steps regarding the government’s pay offer, which includes:
•    A 1% pay rise for all NHS staff up to pay point 42, the second point on band 8c (£56,504) from 1 April 2015.
•    A one-year increment freeze for staff on pay point 34, the second point of band 8a (£40,458) and above.
•    Additional changes to benefit those on the lowest pay scales.
•    A commitment by government to continue using the independent Pay Review Body structure.
During the meeting, it was agreed to accept the offer, which will be implemented in England with effect from 1 April 2015. Royal College of Nursing members working for the NHS in England voted 60% in favour of accepting the offer

NHS Staff feel the strain

   This is back door redundancies

Once again journalists reported that the NHS is under ‘unsustainable pressure’ due to the inability of NHS trusts to fill vacancies. They report that 1in 5 vacant posts (5,500) had been left unfilled for more than three months and staff vacancies continue to rise. According to the Times 07/08/09 vacancies are as follows,

Scientific, therapeutic and technical staff – 4,840

Qualified nursing, midwifery, health – 10,014

Unqualified nurses – 1,838

It was reported that this could be the tip of the iceberg because NHS Trusts do not have to declare vacancies that they are not actively recruiting for. According to reports Medical leaders are warning that qualified staff are now leaving at a greater rate than newly qualified ones entering the professions. The problem is also increasing as the vacancy rates have continued to get worse. Extra staff are urgently needed to fulfil these gaps as nurses are potentially leaving to the increased pressure at work. Yet the NHS employer’s website states that 20 billion needs to be saved in the three years from 2011. Instead once again the NHS looks at quick fixes and recruitment agencies are now being relied on to fill positions with the Health service spending more than £584 million on employing agency staff in 2007-08. The rise of agency nursing will carry on while regular NHS staff continue to be penalised. The Workers of England Union ask why the NHS Trusts still continue to struggle paying overtime to their regular staff. Does the Government appear to be listening to these concerns quite clearly they are not. The chances of the government funding these urgently needed changes are at best slim.

This adds one more important question which cannot be over looked. What does the future hold for the NHS. Under the current system, could it not be said that the  Taxpayes in England support the NHS and they support the ‘three of countries with the united Kingdom’ at the expense of the ‘one’?

For example in 2009 the current Barnett formula grants to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland totalled 49 billion a year. The current economic largesse to those countries means that free healthcare for the elderly, Free prescriptions in Wales potentially free prescriptions for all in Scotland, and free University education for their citizens are all clear examples that this ‘United Kingdom’ does not treat everyone with equality. The English taxpayers have a rightful claim on their own tax money, a claim that is more legitimate than any of the others.

To strengthen the English taxpayers frustration over this unfair situation, Scotland continues to actively indicate that it does not want the UK parliament interfering in its domestic matters.  And yet Scottish MPs retain the right to interfere in purely English matters despite lacking all democratic accountability.  To clarify, there are over 100 Westminster MPs from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (including Gordon Brown), who can all vote on English-only matters, like Health and Education, which have no impact on their own constituents.  The people who are affected by their decisions are unable to use their vote to hold them to account by voting to remove them. This is betrayal of democracy and does affect allocation of NHS resources. An example of this is according to the Daily mail dated 20/01/10 is that Scotland has two nurses per head of their population greater than England.

It easy to hear those figures and concerns and not react as we heard then for so long and far too many times, but the bottom line is this Healthcare staff are under considerable pressure with higher workloads yet  NHS Trusts still require them to maintain standards of care. Healthcare workers want to provide good quality care but they are being hampered by lack of democratic representation.