Tagged: nurses

Unions slam ‘disgusting’ pay rises for South Tyneside health bosses

Pay hikes for senior hospital bosses in South Tyneside have been branded “shocking and disgusting” by health union leaders.

Salaries for six executives at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust rose by at least £5,000 in the space of a year – between 2012/13 and last year, a shared cash boost of £50,000.

Trevor Johnston, who is head of health for the North East region for health union Unison, called for hospital bosses to limit their pay rises to the same one per cent increase being received by frontline NHS staff this year.

The trust says management pay increases were introduced because of a large increase in workload when community services in Gateshead and Sunderland became part of its remit.

 Trust chief executive Lorraine Lambert saw her salary increase by 19 per cent – from between £160,000 and £165,000 to £185,000 to £190,000.

Mike Robson, executive director of finance and corporate governance, saw his salary swell from between £115,000 and £120,000 to £120,000 to £125,000

Chief operating officer Helen Ray left her post in March last year but saw her final salary rise from between £105,000 to £110,000 to £115,000.

Fellow senior executives Steve Jamieson and Elaine Criddle enjoyed £5,000 pay boosts over the same period.

Trevor Johnston said:

“It is absolutely shocking and disgusting. These people have their own remuneration committee and award themselves big pay rises when frontline staff get very little.

“What conscience do they have when frontline staff got a one per cent rise for the coming year? Executives should be taking a one per cent rise as well.

“It is the frontline staff that are delivering services to patients.”

Health workers had planned to strike in January after the Government initially rejected a one per cent pay rise proposal by the NHS pay review body for England but the protest was called off to allow fresh negotiations to take place.

Glenn Turp, northern regional director for the Royal College of Nursing, says pay increases for health staff such as nurses and midwives is failing to keep up with those given to hospital management.

Mr Turp said:

“Our research showed that the amount spent on executive directors had increased by an average of six per cent, compared to a 1.6 per cent rise in earnings for nurses, midwives and health visitors.

“Nurses are continuing to feel the effects of austerity and the impact of the Government’s decision not to award them a pay increase for the last five years. Now is the time for more fairness and better pay for all NHS staff.”

Ian Frame, the trusts’s executive director of personnel and development, said:

“In July 2011, our Trust incorporated the community services from Sunderland and Gateshead into our organisation and, in doing so, doubled the size of the workforce, the operational turnover and the complexity of services provided.

“During 2012 we commissioned an external independent remuneration company, to compare the salary scales of managers who have Trust-wide responsibilities, with managers in other Trusts of comparable size and complexity. The outcome was that the existing salary scales were significantly less than our comparators.

“A revised salary scale was approved by the Trust`s Remuneration Committee (comprising Non-Executive Directors only), which accounts for the increases published in the Annual Reports, though the committee opted to phase the increases over a four year period, in order to reduce the immediatel financial impact.

“Executive director annual inflationary salary increases are directly linked to the national NHS pay awards, so they receive exactly the same inflationary increase as all other staff. Had the organisation not doubled in size and complexity, then the published increases would not have happened.

“Irrespective of the increases, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust chief executive and executive directors’ salaries are amongst the lowest in the North East.”

Outgoing Hospital boss Lorraine Lambert enjoyed a £25,000 pay boost in just one year – as “compensation” for withdrawing from an NHS pension scheme.

South Tyneside Hospital Foundation Trust says she had not been given a basic salary increase or bonus payment, but had received a lump sum payment after withdrawing from the NHS pension scheme.

A trust spokeswoman confirmed:

“As stated in our annual report, it was agreed that she should receive a compensatory sum equivalent to the employers’ pension contributions no longer payable due to her withdrawal from the pension scheme.

“We can confirm that this compensatory sum, which is taxable, is the sole reason for the total remuneration shifting into the higher banding and there was no additional cost to the trust.”

Mrs Lambert will retire from her role as chief executive of the trust in September.

Mrs Lambert has spent 20 years at South Tyneside District Hospital, in South Shields, with the last 18 in her current position.

Source – Shields Gazette, 13 Mar 2015

Blaydon MP Dave Anderson claims Tyneside nurses are turning to shoebox collections

NHS nurses on Tyneside are “seriously considering” setting up shoebox collections to help colleagues struggling to cope with pay cuts, MPs have heard.

Labour’s Dave Anderson, MP for Blaydon,  said some nurses were worried about getting through Christmas.

And he said he had been informed of the idea under consideration at a trust where the chief executive’s pay had increased alongside a rise in allowances for its governors.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Anderson told Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt :

“Can I advise you that last week I spoke to nurses at the hospital near my constituency who told me because of the ongoing cuts to their pay, which has been going on for many years, they are actually seriously considering setting up shoebox collections to help their members get through Christmas.

“At the same time, the chief executive of the trust has had a 17% pay increase and the governors of the trust have had an 88% increase in their allowances.

“Is this what you mean by all being in this together?”

Mr Hunt replied that the Government would take no lessons from Labour on increases to the salaries of senior managers.

He said:

“I’m afraid we won’t take any lessons from the party that increased managers’ pay at double the rate of nurses’ pay when they were in office.

“I’ll tell you what this Government has done when it comes to the lowest paid NHS workers, because of our increases in the tax-free threshold they have seen their take home pay go up by £1,000 a year.”

> Pot calls kettle black, blah, blah, blah… meanwhile the nurses are still collecting.

Source –  Newcastle Evening Chronicle,  02 Dec 2014

Nurses’ leaders have branded North East health bosses’ pay rises a “disgrace”

Health trusts’ chief salaries have increased by up to 13% in the North East, new figures have revealed.

Freedom of Information requests to NHS trusts have shown that the amount paid to executive directors over the last two years has increased by anything up to £25,000 compared to just a 1.6% rise in earnings for nurses, midwives or health visitors.

Nurses’ leaders in the region have hit out at the pay rises, which come a time when not all frontline NHS staff are being given a 1% hike in wages.

The findings of the Royal College of Nursing’s report – All in it together? The Executive pay bill in England’s NHS – shows that the chief executive of Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, Ian Renwick, saw his wages rise by up to 13% from £185,000-£190,000 in 2011/12 to £205,000-£210,000 in 2012/13.

Meanwhile, figures for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s chief executive, Jim Mackey, suggests that his salary rose by 9% from £225,000–£230,000 in 2011/12 to £240,000–£245,000 in 2012/13. However, the health trust has insisted that the findings are incorrect and there has been no pay increase as the rise relates to pension contributions.

Glenn Turp, Northern regional director of RCN said: “When it comes to pay, we are seeing one rule for NHS chief executives, and another for frontline nursing staff. The staggering inequity of the way NHS staff are being treated is completely unacceptable. So much for us all being in this together.

“A band three health care assistant earns between £16,200 and £19,200. But apparently, unlike NHS chief executives, the Government doesn’t think they are worth a pay rise. It’s disgraceful.”

The FOI figures come at a time when the Government has failed to honour a 1% pay rise to all frontline NHS staff this year.

Susan Johnson, 47, of Killingworth, a senior sister in critical care at North Tyneside General Hospital said: “It is a huge kick in the teeth. Day-to-day most staff are being asked to do a little bit more and we are going that one step further to continuously develop our skills. Yet chief executives are getting significant pay rises. It is demoralising for frontline staff.”

A spokesperson for Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “The salaries of our chief executive and of all our executive directors are decided by an independent nominations and remuneration committee and this is to ensure they are in line with publicly available salary benchmarking information.

“As one of the country’s top performing NHS Foundation Trusts, it is important that those with ultimate accountability are remunerated appropriately so that we can retain the very best health care leaders in the North East NHS.”

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said that, along with the rest of its staff, no director has had an increase in pay since a pay freeze was implemented in 2011/12.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “NHS Trusts, Foundation Trusts and clinical commissioning groups set pay for their very senior managers.

“We have an available budget of nearly £1bn for pay increases. We have offered to look at any proposal the unions make on how to use this money. However they have not put forward any proposals to help the lowest paid. Our door remains open if they wish to reconsider their position.

“The RCN’s figures should be used with caution – they have included exit packages for executive directors but not nurses. In fact, the latest independent evidence shows that for the third year running, there was no increase in median executive board pay.”

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle,  17 June 2014

Health care staff protest outside Newcastle hospital over low pay for NHS employees

Frontline nurses and health care assistants gathered in the region this morning to protest against pay conditions.

Scores of NHS staff joined prominent MP Nick Brown outside Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital to show their anger at the Government’s failure to honour a 1% pay rise this year.

After three years of pay freezes and pay restraint, Chancellor George Osborne had said a 1% pay rise across the board was “affordable” from April this year. However, the Government then controversially reneged on this promise.

While some nurses and health care assistants will still get their incremental pay increase, which rewards experience and skills learnt after a length of service, many will not be entitled to the rise.

The Government has insisted it cannot afford a general pay increase without putting frontline jobs at risk.

Glenn Turp, Royal College of Nursing Northern Region regional director, said: “Nurses are working very hard and the number of people at our protest shows how angry our members are.

“It is baffling that the Chancellor said the Government could afford a 1% pay rise across the board and then that was reneged on. It makes no sense.

“What the NHS cannot afford to do is continue a policy of treating hard working and loyal staff with contempt, at a time when morale is at an all time low and trusts around the country struggle to retain and recruit enough nurses to maintain safe staffing levels.

“We see this as being a year long campaign leading up to the general election.”

Nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, paramedics, hospital cleaners and other NHS staff took part in demonstrations throughout the country.

Newcastle East MP Nick Brown said: “The Government’s continuing public sector pay restraint is not fair and not sustainable. It is particularly unfair on nurses and other low paid workers in the NHS.

“I completely support the Royal College of Nursing, hospital staff look after us in our time of need and we must stand up for them. It is important that the public understands just how shabby the Government is in treating key health service workers.”

Staff nurse Grace Onuoha, 53, of Walker, Newcastle, had just finished a night shift for Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust when she attended the protest.

The mum-of-three said: “It is very disappointing that there is not an across the board pay rise as we are working hard and doing a lot yet receiving nothing in return. It feels like we have been given a slap in the face by the Government.

“Morale is extremely low among staff as we are doing more and getting less. My pay is exactly the same as it was in 2009 despite the rise in the cost of living.”

The TUC, representing 14 health unions, said its research showed that health staff in England were “donating” £1.5bn worth of unpaid overtime every year.

Unions said that by 2015/16 NHS staff would have had their pay capped for six years. Pay was frozen in 2011 and 2012, and limited to 1% last year.

Susan Johnson, 47, of Killingworth, a senior sister in critical care at North Tyneside General Hospital, said: “It is frustrating because we work so hard and my concern is that we will put off future generations from joining the profession as nursing staff struggle with unsociable hours and are not very financially rewarded.”

The Department of Health said it was saddened by the health unions’ reaction to reject the pay offer. A spokesperson said: “NHS staff are our greatest asset.

“That’s why at a time of severe funding restraint we have been clear that they should receive at least 1% additional pay this year and next.

“We cannot afford a general pay rise on top of incremental pay increases of up to 6% without risking frontline jobs and safe staffing levels.

“We are disappointed that the unions rejected our offer to discuss any alternative proposals on pay, within an available budget of nearly £1bn.

“However, our door remains open if they wish to reconsider their position.”

Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle,  05 June 2014

Fears for mental health patients as 150 jobs go at North East health trust

Fears have been expressed for some of the region’s most vulnerable patients after it emerged more than 150 frontline NHS posts will be cut.

As many as 169 posts at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust will be lost under radical plans to change the way that care is delivered to mental health patients.

Nurses are set to be the worst hit, though a total of 867 employees will be affected as staff may be required to change their place of work or undergo different shift patterns.

Plans put forward for consultation will see wards close, services relocated and the development of new units as the trust aims to reduce costs by 20% over a five-year period.

Health chiefs have insisted that the changes will significantly improve patient services, but staff and unions have raised fears over employees’ safety and future staffing levels.

Glenn Turp, regional director for the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Trust management have told us that although they are endeavouring to redeploy all of the staff who are affected by the restructuring, they can not give guarantees that all staff will be redeployed, and as a consequence they have issued ‘advance notice of redundancy forms’ affecting around 170 staff.

“The fact remains that local NHS employers are in the invidious position of having to make huge cost savings that are not deliverable without having a negative impact on patient care, frontline staffing and inpatient activity.”

Thirteen new schemes will be introduced across the region covering all aspects of mental health, including older people’s services, psychiatric intensive care and male high dependency.

Community services will be enhanced so that fewer people will require hospital admission.

It is believed that more than 90 beds will be reduced and new ways of accessing treatment introduced for those with psychosis, non-psychosis, cognitive disorders and learning disability.

A mental health nurse, who has asked not to be named, said: “A number of challenging patients who used to be managed within the hospital setting are now going to have to be cared for in the community.

“Without significant additional investment in community services and staff, this will put significant pressure on both the patients themselves, and their families who will be increasingly relied upon to provide support when NHS staff are not available.

“For those patients who do not have a supportive family network, this may put both their health and safety at risk.

“The public should be concerned about the scale and the nature of this restructuring, because it looks as if community care is being delivered on the cheap. That has implications for everyone.”

The trust is currently working with staff on the proposals and a number of public consultation events have taken place. It is expected that the changes will come into force within the next two to three years.

A spokesperson for Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust said: “Service users, carers, the voluntary sector and our commissioners and local authorities have been involved for many months in developing our plans for mental health services across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear.

“The vast majority of our services are provided in the community with only 3% of our patients ever needing to go to hospital, yet we spend more than 50% of our resources for services on our inpatient beds.

“Our aim is to improve quality in both our inpatient and community services whilst at the same time meeting the cost savings required of us.

“In terms of our inpatient beds, the trust currently has over 650 beds and as an example, in the last three weeks we have used in the order of 470 beds each day.”

Source – Newcastle Journal  23 April 2014

UK pay rises – nurses: 1%, MPs: 11%, bankers: 35%

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the UK today!)

The government has just announced an average increase of 0%-1% in pay for doctors, nurses and other public sector workers:

Pay decisions announced for NHS staff and other public sector workers

This comes after bankers got an average of 35% (not even including their bonuses) and MPs gave themselves an 11% pay rise:

average UK pay rises

Interestingly, the police got nothing at all.

Punishment for plebgate perhaps?

.

Please feel free to comment.

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North East NHS managers get pay rises as nurses’ salaries cut in real terms

Health chiefs have received pay rises of up to 17% while nurses and health care assistants experience real term cuts topping 12%, a union has revealed.

Analysis of senior executive NHS pay by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has shown that bosses at hospital trusts in the region were awarded salary increases averaging 10.5% between 2010 and 2013, while mid-band nurses managed a paltry 0.1%. Taking into account inflation some suffered a real terms cut of 12%.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt previously warned that health service employees would face a pay freeze until March 2016 and that they might not get the 1% promised for 2014 unless unions accept greater pay restraint.

Glenn Turp, regional director for the RCN northern region, said: “Frontline nurses and health care assistants have already borne the brunt of the Government’s pay restraint policy over many years. And we know that, once inflation is factored in, NHS salaries have in fact been cut between 8% and 12% in real terms, between the period 2010 and 2014.

“The Chancellor promised to deliver a 1% pay rise this year for the front line, but the Secretary of State for Health is now trying to introduce a further pay freeze until March 2016.

“This is completely unacceptable. It is particularly galling that the Government is quite happy for NHS managers to get significant pay rises, while at the same time, the front line takes another hit.

“A 1% pay increase is a perfectly reasonable and proportionate request, particularly when put in the context of the rises in senior managers’ pay. The Government needs to stop having one rule for the frontline nursing staff, and another for senior bosses.”

The RCN northern region compared the salaries of chief executives across all North East trusts for the financial year 2010-11, with the most recent financial year data available, 2012-13.

Ian Renwick, chief executive of Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, received the largest pay rise of 17% as his wages jumped from £190,000 to just under £223,000.

Jim Mackey from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust saw his salary rise 9%, from £211,000 to £230,000.

Newcastle Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust’s chief executive, Sir Leonard Fenwick, is paid the most at £246,000, although the trust has insisted he has had no pay rise in three years, despite the RCN suggesting he had received a 6% increase.

A spokesperson for Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “The salaries of our chief executive and of all our executive directors are decided by an independent nominations and remuneration committee and this is to ensure they are in line with publicly available salary benchmarking information.

“As one of the country’s top performing NHS Foundation Trusts, it is important that those with ultimate accountability are remunerated appropriately so that we can retain the very best healthcare leaders in the North East NHS.”

Figures show that a mid-band 5 nurse salary in the North East increased from £23,563 in 2010/11 to just £23,589 in 2012/13, a rise of just 0.1%. In 2011-12 a pay freeze was implemented by the Government to NHS staff earning more than £21,000.

A spokesperson from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: “The remuneration of our leadership team is decided independently to make sure that salaries are in line with those of other high performing NHS organisations.

“To be clear, however, along with the rest of our staff, no director at Northumbria Healthcare has had an increase in pay since the pay freeze was implemented in 2011/12.”

Last night, the Department of Health defended its decision to limit pay rises for NHS frontline staff.

A spokesperson said: “The NHS is rightly playing its role in public sector pay restraint.

“Average pay has increased by around 1%. Despite this, many NHS staff continue to be well paid for the lifesaving work they do and the majority of staff have received additional incremental pay increases of up to 6%.

“The number of admin staff, managers and senior managers in the NHS has fallen by over 21,000. This will lead to a significant reduction in managers’ costs.”

Source – Newcastle Journal  03 Feb 2014

Reframing ‘austerity’ as #economicviolence

Life Glug

Content warning: metaphorical depiction of bodily violence

Austerity is a horrible yet captivating story. As a narrative it’s cohesive, has strong emotional images and an active message – elements which clearly resonate with the public and lend legitimacy to government cuts.

The left’s response, for all its logical and ethical weight, remains fragmentary, dry and largely reactive. We are, in the words of Mark Fisher, merely firefighting the effects of government cuts, always left on the back foot. To create a stronger alternative, we need to build a vibrant, cohesive narrative to carry those logical and ethical arguments.

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Right Wing Think Tank Recommends Lower Wages For North East

Right wing “think tank” Policy Exchange (PE) – described by the Daily Telegraph as “the largest, but also the most influential think tank on the right” –  wants pay to be cut for public sector workers in the North East (and Merseyside, and the South West), pointing to research claiming that taxpayer-funded jobs in the region  pay as much as 3200 pounds more than their equivalents in the private sector.

(As usual I have problems with terms like “as much as 3200”, which probably means a few lucky people do, but the majority get nowhere near. But policies like this will always quote the highest figure earned by the minority, rather than the far lower one that is the lot of the majority. Just something to bear in mind…)

What the PE has in its sights is regional pay policies. Matthew Oakley, head of economics and social policy at PE : “Nationalised pay negotiation is not fit for purpose for the modern public sector. It is bad for the economy and bad for public services. While the unions should still have a strong role in the future, we should move to a system  where local public sector employers can decide how to negotiate salaries with employees in order to reflect the realities of their labour market.”

Which I translate as something like – employers tell employees ” lots of unemployment out there – either you accept lower wages or we find someone who will.”

Incidentally, could this be the same Matthew Oakley who was recently described by The Void as ” Britain’s biggest scrounger” ?   It certainly could.

Matthew Oakley has previously authored a paper on welfare reform which includes not only a demand for a greater use of sanctions for part workers, but astonishingly even pre-emptive benefit sanctions for people on fixed term contracts.  Oakley believes that these workers should be stripped of any entitlement to benefits at all if Jobcentre staff decide that they weren’t doing enough to find work even before they lost their job.

So impressed was Iain Duncan Smith with this swivel-eyed nonsense that he gave Oakley a non-job on the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) – the body whose job it is to scrutinise social security reforms..  This means he is now paid  £256.80 a day of tax payer’s cash to provide so-called expert opinions on policies he helped create.

Prior to working at the Policy Exchange, Oakley was in another  tax payer funded non-job at the Treasury where he worked on a white paper outlining proposals for Universal Credit.  Now Iain Duncan Smith is to shovel yet more of our money into his grubby pockets by asking him to carry out what is laughingly called an ‘independent review’ of benefit sanctions.

Whilst over two million people are desperate for any job, Oakley now has three – and two of them at our expense.

Full article – http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/policy-exchange-clown-in-charge-of-sanctions-review/

Nice work if you can get it !

But as pointed out by Neil Foster, head of policy  at the Northern TUC : “PE still fail to compare like with like since many of the jobs in the public sector  simply don’t exist in the private sector  and vice versa.

“They lost the argument on regional pay and I’d advise them to move on to other areas of research such as looking at the wealth at the top that has gone up during austerity, rather than arguing North East nurses, midwives, teachers and school cooks are overpaid.”

You might think that what all this proves is that the wages of private sector workers are being kept low by unscruprulous employers, and that rather than reducing the pay of the public sector, we should instead be raising the wages of the private sector.

Alternatively, you might think that if we should have lower regional wages, we should also have lower regional outgoings – lower power bills, food prices, transport, etc.  But “pay more, get less” is the unofficial motto of organizations like PE and the neo-liberal forces they serve.

You might also like to bear in mind that a study for the GMB union shows 631,000 public sector jobs have been lost since the Coalition came to power in 2010,
and the union predicts that fresh cuts being eyed by Tory Chancellor George Osborne will take that figure over a million before the next election in May 2015.

GMB national officer Brian Strutton said: “These statistics show the devastating effect of this Government’s austerity cuts on total public sector employment. Some parts of the country that are most dependent on the public sector to support their local economies have been hardest hit.The tragedy is that the worse is yet to come.

“The Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecast for net total public sector job losses during the lifetime of this Parliament means that the prospect for the next two years could be up to a further 400,000 job losses.”

Still, as we’ve often been told, the private sector will take up the slack and replace all those lost public sector jobs, albeit for lower wages.

It doesn’t seem to be happening. Isn’t that strange ?

You don’t think they might have been lying to us, do you ?