Page last updated at 11:49 GMT, Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Debate on regional pay

The government has been warned that the introduction of regional pay in the NHS would have a "devastating effect" on staff morale.

Speaking during a short Westminster Hall debate on 7 November 2012, Labour MP for Exeter Ben Bradshaw criticised the formation of the South West Pay Consortium, which is discussing introducing regional pay.

Around 20 hospital and mental health trusts in the region have joined the consortium.

The scheme was suggested in a leaked document in June and would replace the current NHS national pay bargaining model.

However, unions fear the proposals will lead to cuts to pay and conditions.

Mr Bradshaw said that staff morale was a "precious commodity" in the NHS, highlighting that some staff had already had two years of pay freezes.

The government is considering introducing regional pay for public sector workers as it believes salaries in some regions are higher than the true market rate and so the private sector struggles to compete for staff.

If approved, south-west England could be among the first areas in the country to have it introduced.

Responding to the debate, Health Minister Anna Soubry said the government was "driving efficiencies, cutting management costs and shifting more to front line services".

She praised the South West Pay Consortium for taking a "mature approach", but stressed that no decisions had been made.

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