NHS Chiefs beg for end to pay restraint; but Hunt demands increase in productivity

Submitted by sglenister on Wed, 01/11/2017 - 16:51

01 November 2017

The heads of health and social are bodies across the UK have written to the Chancellor outlining the urgent need for funding to the NHS and an end to pay restraint, but Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said wage rises will likely be focused on sectors that show "improved productivity".

Watch Jeremy Hunt talk about pay rises on Andrew Marr

Signatories to the letter said: "Pay restraint is a major factor affecting staff working in health, social care and the wider public sector. Vacancy rates, particularly in clinical grades in both hospital and community alternatives, are now affecting the quality of care which people experience.

"We therefore support a relaxation of pay restraint, but additional costs that result must be funded in full by the Government."

But on the Andrew Marr show this weekend, Jeremy Hunt refused to say that the government's commitment to lift the 1% pay cap would not lead to cuts to other NHS resources.

"The Chancellor has said that if we can have a negotiation and look at some of the ways we can improve productivity at the same time, then he's willing to have a discussion with me about whether extra resources can be found," Hunt told Marr after revealing that a pay increase of 3% – which would still represent a real terms cut in wages as it falls below inflation – would cost the NHS £1 billion.

Despite saying that the Care Quality Commission has lauded an increasing safety record within the NHS and that the UK health system is seen as the best in the world, Hunt appeared to suggest that workers must improve their productivity even further to gain pay rises.

"When it comes to money and the NHS, every week we have avoidable death, avoidable harm in the NHS that is nothing to do with resources or not principally to do with resources. And if we're going to be the safest and best we also need to have a culture of safety and quality that comes from inside as well as the cheque from the Chancellor – the two need to go together," he said.

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