Written evidence to the Pay Review Body
NHS Providers submitted written evidence to the Pay Review Body (PRB) on behalf of NHS trusts and foundation trusts to inform the 2018/19 pay round.
Key messages include:
- Workforce now surpasses the financial challenge facing the provider sector. In a recent survey of trust leaders, two thirds (66%) of provider trust chairs and chief executives reported that workforce is the most pressing challenge to delivering high-quality healthcare at their trust.
- Staff must be appropriately and fairly rewarded. This will support recruitment and retention and help create a motivated workforce. We welcome the government’s commitment in the November 2017 budget to fund an end to pay restraint for Agenda for Change staff, subject to successful negotiations on reform of Agenda for Change. We await an update on these negotiations.
- It is essential that there be a clear and credible process for the funding for any pay award to reach provider trusts, recognising that the government has committed to providing new funding to implement this, in addition to the £1.6bn already announced in the November 2017 budget for 2018/19.
- Over two-fifths of HR Directors (44%) suggest a 3% pay award would be required to support recruitment and retention of staff and just under a third (30%) consider 2% would be required. While we recognise the pay award is subject to negotiations between NHS Employers and unions, and the recommendation of the pay review body, the range of 2-3% would appear a useful starting point for discussions.
- In a scenario where the pay review bodies recommend a pay award greater than 1%, a majority of HR Directors supported this (61%). Trusts suggested that the lowest paid staff, closely followed by those groups with the most difficult recruitment and retention, should be prioritised as part of any national targeting. However, if targeting is pursued, we need to recognise the scale of the communications and engagement task that this presents.
- The need for a more strategic and coherent approach to workforce strategy, planning, and policy remains a priority. We have welcomed the government’s recent publication of a draft health and care national workforce strategy consultation document, which proposes a constructive start to addressing the workforce challenges facing the sector. The draft strategy helpfully provides a ten year time frame, recognising that the reforms required to address the workforce challenges facing the NHS will require a longer term horizon.