The first meeting of the south west pay, terms and conditions consortium steering group took place on Friday (29 June).
The consortium comprises senior representatives from 20 NHS trusts and has been established in response to the serious financial and operational challenges facing the NHS, both now and in the future.
The steering group is responsible for identifying how taxpayer funding may be more efficiently used in order to protect both employment and the continued delivery of high quality healthcare.
The consortium recognises that the NHS’ largest expenditure – staff pay – can be better designed to reflect the needs of each organisation in safeguarding and building on high quality health services, whilst recognising and rewarding high performing staff.
Pay forms a significant and growing part of the financial challenge facing NHS organisations, even allowing for the Government’s two year freeze, which ends in this financial year, and the recently announced proposal to cap future annual pay increases at one per cent.
For example, an average sized trust with a turnover of £200m will see its expenditure on pay increase by more than £3m per year from 2013/14.
As a result of these and other cost pressures including reductions in income, Monitor, the independent regulator for NHS foundation trusts, has estimated that organisations of this size will need to produce savings of around £9m a year for each year until 2016/17 to remain in financial health.
The steering group agreed at its first meeting to develop detailed plans in the coming months, as part of a full business case which identifies, and outlines options to help meet, these challenges over the medium term.
The full business case is anticipated to be completed by the end of this calendar year before being presented for consideration at each consortium member’s board.
As significant and responsible local employers, the group of trusts has a duty to act in a way that not only preserves services for patients but protects employees as far as possible, said project chair, Chris Bown, chief executive of Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
“The consortium recognises that the NHS faces a time of unprecedented challenge, both financially and in the provision of services to our patients,” he said.
“At our first meeting the steering group was given a mandate to work towards developing detailed plans to deliver the project’s aims.
“The consortium acknowledges the concerns expressed by some staff and unions at the establishment of this group, and as these plans take shape I would like to reiterate our commitment to continue to seek to work positively and constructively with staff as well as unions.
“At the heart of the consortium’s work is a shared desire to preserve and protect employment while safeguarding high quality health services for the populations we serve into the future.
“We remain fully supportive of the national discussions between employer representatives and unions which are looking at modernising the current Agenda for Change pay model, and we will be monitoring progress with great interest.
“The consortium believes that rather than watch these negotiations from a distance, we can and should work in the background as these discussions take place to give us the best opportunity to be sustainable organisations in the years ahead.
“Financially healthy NHS organisations mean improved opportunities to preserve employment and a reduced need for redundancies, thereby helping to underpin each trust’s chief responsibility – the delivery of excellence in the care we provide.”
Notes to editors:
- The following trusts’ boards have agreed to work together as the south west pay, terms and conditions consortium:
- Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Gloucester Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- North Bristol NHS Trust
- Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust
- Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust
- Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust
- Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
- Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust
- Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
- Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
- University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust
- Weston Area Health NHS Trust
- Yeovil District HospitalNHS Foundation Trust
- 2gether NHS Foundation Trust
- Devon Partnership NHS Trust
- Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
- Dorset HealthCare NHS Foundation Trust
- Pay continues to form a significant part of the financial challenge facing NHS organisations, even allowing for the Government’s two year pay freeze, which ends in this financial year, and the recently announced proposal to cap future annual pay increases at an average of one per cent.
- For example, an average sized trust with a turnover of £200m will see its expenditure on pay increase by more than £3m per year from 2013/14, to accommodate the proposed one per cent wage increase cap, plus incremental pay. Additionally, Monitor, the independent regulator for NHS foundation trusts, has estimated that organisations of this size will need to produce savings of around £9m a year for each year until 2016/17 in order to off-set increasing costs and reductions in income to remain in financial health.
- While projects at individual trust-level have often successfully addressed the use of expensive agency or bank staff use, or reduced pay bill costs by utilising the natural turnover of staff as well as service improvements, the current financial climate means that trusts must find more innovative ways to ensure staff are rewarded and recognised, while preserving high standards in care.
- Each member of the consortium has agreed to contribute £10,000 towards the project’s costs, including the appointment of an external advisor, project manager, administration, and legal and other specialist advice.