Pay cuts threaten IT staff in the NHS

Pay
scales for NHS IT staff could be cut by thousands of pounds under Agenda for
Change, a radical restructuring of pay scales set to be rolled out nationwide
from 1 December.

With
nursing and other trade unions backing the deal, the chance of IT staff finding
their pay under threat at a critical period for the NHS’ £2.3bn national
programme for IT – which will see an overhaul of many of the health service’s
systems – looks increasingly likely. Last week, leaders of public service union
Unison backed Agenda for Change.

The
Department of Health refused to release a breakdown of how IT was affected by
the pay structure at early adopter sites, but evidence from City Hospital
Sunderland showed a pay range for all but the most senior IT staff of between
£11,500 and £18,600.

Jill
George, a member of the national executive council of the Amicus union, told
Personnel Today’s sister magazine Computer Weekly:"The IT staff I have spoken to are
incredibly angry. If it goes through they will be leaving the NHS, which will
result in a serious risk to IT services."

Ian
White, national council member of NHS IT management group Assist, said his
organisation had met the Agenda for Change team at the Department of Health and
was "making sure the issues pertinent to health informatics were
understood".

A
spokesman for Assist said: "If [Agenda for Change] comes out with a
process that does not sufficiently value IT staff and reflect the status of the
IT profession, the danger is that good people could walk. We need to guard
against that – the national programme for IT needs experienced and
knowledgeable staff."

By Daniel Thomas 

 

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