Northern Devon Healthcare Trust pulls out of regional NHS pay cartel
A Westcountry hospital has withdrawn from a cartel which suggested curtailing employees' holidays in exchange for greater job security.
The Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust announced yesterday that it was resigning from the South West Pay Consortium (SWC) and will concentrate on implementing national agreed pay, terms and conditions.
Last week, the Western Morning News exclusively revealed documents compiled by the SWC, which at the time had 19 health trusts as members.
The business case, which was compiled in answer to unprecedented financial challenges facing the NHS, suggested a number of ways for trusts to safeguard their future, including paying less for shift work in exchange for job security guarantees.
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Roger French, chairman of the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, said: "We are delighted to have received firm commitments from all the trade union representatives to work with us on exploring those proposals that implement efficiencies within existing nationally-agreed pay, terms and conditions.
"The challenge of securing high-quality, sustainable services at a time of extreme financial constraint in the NHS will require meaningful discussions with our staff.
"We want to be able to face this challenge knowing that we have the support and goodwill of staff to work in partnership with us."
The SWC had courted controversy since its inception a year ago and unions across the board had been opposed to its aims.
Jeannett Martin, Director for the South West region of the Royal College of Nursing, applauded the decision.
"Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust's decision to withdraw from the pay cartel is the right decision and the Royal College of Nursing welcomes it.
"We urge other cartel members to take heed of this decision and also withdraw.
"Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust's withdrawal from the pay cartel is a testament to the thousands of RCN members across the South West region who have made their voices heard loud and clear that the cartel proposals would seriously impact on patient care and should be dropped."
She said the decision "shows respect for the committed workforce."
Health trusts which remain members of the SWC include hospitals in Truro, Exeter and Plymouth.