NHS pay reforms set to go ahead

The government and unions are to press ahead with reforms to the NHS pay system.

The 'Agenda for Change' reform package includes a 10% basic pay increase over three years for all staff and, when the costs of the reform package are added in over the three-year period from 2003-2006, it will be worth an average increase of 12.5% on basic pay.

A meeting of representatives of unions, health service employers and the UK Health Departments today approved the start of full-scale testing of the new pay system. This follows publication of the results of union ballots showing strong support for the proposals among union members.

In a statement, unions, employer representatives and health departments said: "Modernising the NHS pay system is important, not only to ensure staff are rewarded fairly for what they do, but to help deliver fast, modern services for patients. Today we have taken one more step forward. There is much still to do. We will continue to support and promote a partnership approach to early implementation in all the selected sites. This will include monitoring progress and working constructively with them to resolve any issues."

Health Minister John Hutton said that it was a "good outcome for the NHS".

It is hoped that the 'Agenda for Change' reform will help bring teams of NHS staff closer together by harmonising conditions of service and breaking down old-style demarcations. It will provide a "fair-pay system" based on a national job evaluation scheme purposely designed to meet the needs of the NHS.


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