§ The Minister of State, Department of Health (Mr. John Hutton)
I am pleased to be able to announce that on 28 November negotiators representing the UK Health Departments, NHS employers and NHS trades unions successfully concluded negotiations on a new pay system for NHS staff (with the exception of those within the remit of the Doctors and Dentists Review Body and the most senior managers). It represents the most radical transformation of the NHS pay system since the foundation of the service in 1948. The proposed new system will now go out for consultation with organisations representing NHS staff.
Over the three year period from 2003–04 to 2005–06 the overall package will mean an average increase of 12.5 per cent in basic pay for NHS staff. It will give a 10 per cent pay increase over three years for all staff, plus an average 5.9 per cent in the longer run linked to modernisation.
The proposed new pay system will be based on a new system of job evaluation. This means that the basic pay that NHS staff receive will reflect the knowledge, responsibility, skills and effort required in their job, rather than their historic job title or occupational group. To progress fully in the new pay system, staff will need to demonstrate a level of applied skills and knowledge appropriate to their level of responsibility.
The new system will also introduce clearer rewards for staff who work flexibly outside traditional working hours. It will give extra flexibilities for local NHS employers to create new types of jobs and to make extra payments to reflect recruitment and retention pressures. Instead of almost 650 different staff grades and thousands of different allowances, there will be a simple 65WS set of core terms and conditions based on 8 pay bands, including simple, harmonised arrangements for working hours and annual leave.
The new system is designed to ensure fair pay for staff, based on the principle of equal pay for work of equal value, and a clearer system of career progression. It will also directly support modernisation of patient care. It will provide new opportunities for staff to take on new responsibilities, breaking down old-fashioned demarcations and enabling jobs to be re-designed around the needs of the patient. It will produce a more sensible division of labour, with nurses, therapists and health care assistants taking on new roles that improve NHS productivity and free up more of doctors' and other senior clinicians' time for direct patient care.66WS
Clearer rewards for flexible working will help make NHS services more widely available to patients in the evenings and weekends. Improvements in pay, career and training prospects will help recruit an estimated 10,000 more nurses and other health professionals and an estimated 27,000 health care assistants by 2006–07 in England, particularly in high cost areas such as London. A clearer link between pay and development of knowledge and skills will help deliver higher and more consistent standards of NHS patient care.
If the new system is approved following consultation, implementation will start in twelve NHS sites in Spring 2003 with full implementation starting in October 2004.
A summary of the proposed new pay system has been placed in the Library.