NHS Confederation urges action over 'grossly unfair' pay differences

Niall Dickson

It is ‘grossly unfair’ that tens of thousands of frontline staff delivering NHS care could be missing out on the recent pay award, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation has warned.

The Government announced a pay rise in March, but it applied only to employees in publicly-owned providers on Agenda for Change (A4C) contracts.

While it was extended to non-statutory providers of NHS services who employ staff on A4C terms ‘dynamically’, there are still large numbers of staff working in voluntary, social enterprise and independent health and care sectors will miss out.

The NHS Confederation is calling ministers to look at the issue again ‘as a matter of urgency’ and wants future pay rises to be allocated and ringfenced through commissioners and the NHS tariff.

It has warned that the uneven playing field could destabilise the already fragile community services sector, where around half of all services are delivered by non-statutory providers.

It says it is also highly likely social care – which already financially squeezed and has high numbers of vacancies - will face even greater difficulties in recruiting staff if all candidates are not offered the same pay deal.

NHS Confederation chief executive Niall Dickson said: “This is grossly unfair. The pay award for those employed by NHS trusts was welcome, but it fails to recognise and reward the tens of thousands of other dedicated staff who are delivering frontline NHS care in independent, voluntary, social enterprise, and GP-run services. It also does nothing for nurses and others in social care, which will exacerbate recruitment and retention issues for those vital services.

“This is about more than just individuals losing out – it has serious implications for the future of the health and care services.

“As we try to move towards more joined up care, we cannot have the government creating a pay system that sets up artificial barriers between services, and undermines the very policy it is trying to promote.”

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