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Thursday, July 16, 1998 Published at 16:37 GMT 17:37 UK


'No pay, no NHS reform'

The government wants 15,000 more nurses, but said nothing on pay rises

Health workers have warned Frank Dobson's trumpetted "crusade for health" will not happen unless money is pumped into staff pay

BBC economics correspondent Ed Crooks on NHS spending
Health Secretary Frank Dobson said up to 7,000 more doctors and 15,000 more nurses would be taken on over the next three years. In addition thousands of extra training places will be created.

Over the same period £8bn would be spent on new hospitals, GP surgeries and clinics.

The new investment would enable NHS hospitals would be able to treat 3m more patients.

Tough on pay

However Mr Dobson reiterated the government's intention to keep a tight reign on NHS pay. He said pay settlements had to be fair and affordable, and in line with economic commitments.

[ image: Christine Hancock: already 8,000 nurse NHS vacancies]
Christine Hancock: already 8,000 nurse NHS vacancies
Christine Hancock, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, warned that there were already 8,000 nurse vacancies in the NHS, and that there was no way the government could recruit 15,000 more without a significant pay increase.

Ms Hancock said: "The government cannot duck pay. They have to face up to the fact that at the moment nurses are walking away from the NHS because they cannot afford to stay."

She also said she was surprised about the move to tighten the rules for public sector pay review bodies.

"You cannot have another 15,000 nurses and complete pay restraint. That has to be faced up to," she said.


The BBC's Richard Hannaford on what the extra money will mean
James Barbour, chief executive of the Central Manchester NHS Trust, was more upbeat. He congratulated Mr Dobson on "an outstanding settlement not least because it gives long-term stability to the NHS and is accompanied by the removal of the kind of stop go funding and annual contracting which is so frustrating to frontline clinical staff".

He said pay was not the main concern of staff. "The primary concern is having the tools and the resources to do a high quality professional job."

His trust had been given £1.5m this year to cut waiting lists. He was pleased that the spending review would mean he could count on a similar sum for the next two years.

Professor Sir Netar Mallick, medical director of Manchester Royal Infirmary, also welcomed the extra money and congratulated Mr Dobson on a "pragmatic but caring approach".

"The emphasis is on cooperation within the NHS, investment in the future, better facilities and more training places. These are all things which will be very important in improving morale and making people feel they can do their job efficiently and well," he said.

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16 Jul 98†|†Health
Dobson's measures at a glance

16 Jul 98†|†Health
Dobson puts emphasis on new staff

16 Jul 98†|†Health
Scotland's NHS divides up the extra £1.8bn

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