Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (13th April 2012) warned that “an unprecedented backlash” by NHS and Department for Health managers against coalition plans to introduce regional pay could – in their words – “harm health care” and has to be heeded by the prime minister.
Civil Service Chiefs at the Department of Health today warned that “rapid introduction of local pay rates for about 1 million NHS workers in England could destabilise a health service undergoing huge organisational changes and having to make £20bn worth of efficiency savings by 2015”
In a stark warning that appears to undermine a wider government desire to speedily link public sector wages to the jobs market and private sector pay in different parts of the country, the department argues that any changes must be rethought. This call came from top Department of Health civil service managers to the NHS Pay Review Body.
They said: “We would need to consider carefully the wider system reform in the NHS and the resulting organisational changes for the workforce which are still taking place. Pace-of-change decisions would need careful consideration to balance a faster realisation of the benefits of market-facing pay against the potential risks around affordability, recruitment and retention.”
“These health civil service chiefs have got it spot on – and they have given this warning in the face of their Tory and Liberal Democrat Ministers. This is a brave act on their part and needs to be recognised.
“Put simply, the introduction of regional pay would mean that doctors, nurses and medical specialists working in areas like Teesside would face wage cuts. The impact on local hospitals and primary care services would be catastrophic and could lead to valuable health professionals quitting jobs on Teesside and heading off to the leafy – and more wealthy – south. That would be devastating to areas like ours which already have an ill health legacy of serious illnesses like cancer and heart conditions.
“Prime Minister David Cameron has to act on this warning if his Health Minister, Andrew Lansley, will not react to this message from medical experts who know, above all, what these proposals could really mean for NHS patients and their families.”