'Short-sighted' regional pay moves would undermine NHS, BMA warns

Published on Wednesday, 12 September 2012 16:52
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

Regionally negotiated pay and conditions would undermine the national ethos of the NHS, waste resources, and could make it harder for some areas to recruit high-quality staff, the BMA warns today (Wednesday 12 September 2012).

Twenty NHS trusts in the South West have formed a consortium which is seeking to break away from nationally negotiated contracts. Its proposals include cutting pay, increasing hours, and reducing protected time in which consultants can work on non-clinical activities to improve quality.

In a new briefing paper published today (Wednesday 12 September 2012), the BMA describes the measures as "short-sighted", warning that they have the potential to undermine the shared national values of the NHS. It argues that a move towards regional variations in pay would make it harder for some parts of the NHS to recruit and retain high-calibre staff.

Dr Mark Porter, Chair of Council at the BMA, said: "If this initiative is allowed to go ahead, other regions are likely to follow suit, taking us further away from a truly national health service. We do not want to see a skills drain away from certain areas of the country, particularly in more remote regions.

"This is a distraction from serious attempts to address the massive financial challenges facing the NHS. Instead of wasting resources on short-term measures for which there is no evidence, and that will only serve to demoralise staff, we should focus on ways to genuinely improve efficiency and quality."

The briefing paper also warns that:· A model where different parts of the NHS negotiated separately would create additional costs leading to waste, duplication and inefficiency.

· Demoralised staff could decide to leave the NHS or retire early, compounding local retention problems.

· A move away from national contracts for doctors could increase regional variations in clinical quality.

Source: ©BMA

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