Alex Cunningham MP, the Member of Parliament for Stockton North, today criticised the Government’s plans to introduce different rates of NHS pay for different areas of the country, in a speech in the House of Commons.
The plans, if implemented, could see an NHS worker in Stockton paid less than somebody doing exactly the same job in a different part of the country. The Government are keen on this because they see it as something that will stop the private sector being “crowded out” by the public sector, but studies have shown that the opposite is true; that regional pay would hurt local economies, widen the gender-pay gap, and cost more than the current system of national pay bargaining.
It could also hurt the NHS, and see more NHS services in more affluent areas poach staff from the deprived areas that need it most, with the inevitable effect of widening health inequalities.
The changes are threatening to impact Stockton, and we have seen moves by the local trust to vary terms and conditions for their workers sick pay, and even threaten to sack and then re-employ them on different ones if the change is rejected.
Alex MP said:
“Regional pay is a gigantic red herring. The Government think that it will stimulate the economy, improve health outcomes, and save money. They are wrong on all three counts; research shows that it will take £1.7bn out of local economies, widen health inequalities, and end up costing more than it saves.
“This is yet another nail in the coffin of the Tory-led Government’s record on the NHS; they promised no more reorganisations and gave us the biggest one ever; they promised to increase funding but they are cutting it; and now they are trying to cut the pay of health workers in some of the poorest parts of the country.”