UNION leaders today said the Chancellor’s push for local pay deals will shortchange North East nurses.
The Sunderland-based RCN Northern Region spoke out as the national body moves closer towards balloting for industrial action for first time in its 95-year history.
Responding to a letter from George Osborne to the Pay Review Body, which proposes a move from a national NHS pay deal to one based on local negotiation, acting regional director Estephanie Dunn said: “It’s fundamentally unfair.
“Nurses do the same training, deliver the same services, and are monitored against the same quality measures, regardless of where they work.
“This proposal is a bad deal for the patient, a bad deal for the taxpayer and a bad deal for nurses.
“It is a bad deal for the patient because you will have the situation where well-resourced hospitals will be able to poach senior nurses from hospitals who are in a less fortunate financial position.
“It is a bad deal for the taxpayer because temporary fluctuations in regional and local workforce availability will now have a disproportionate impact on salaries, leading to increased costs for all NHS employers regardless, as they compete to recruit the same workforce.
“In short, this is a proposal to further run down our region, and our community.
“It’s not fair on nurses, and it’s not fair on the local communities that they serve.”
She added: “The RCN Council is meeting on January 10 to decide whether to ballot our members for industrial action.
“The Government seem hell-bent on provoking our members to go down this route.”