National NHS Pay Agreements Should Be Dropped, Says Think Tank


The NHS should scrap the current nation- al pay agreements for doctors and replace them with local and performance-related agreements, says leading think tank Reform.

The report, Doctors and Nurses, said that maintaining the current agreement was a ‘glaring contradiction’ in plans to improve the NHS. It suggests the government should follow examples such as the South West Pay Consortium which is fighting to develop local pay agreements.

“The current negotiations on NHS pay are a test for the new secretary of state. There is a glaring contradiction between his goal of a higher quality NHS and his Department’s support for national pay arrangements,” said Nick Seddon, deputy director of Reform.

The report also says a surplus of doctors ‘creates an opportunity to drive down pay’ and end the ‘job for life’ expectation of newly qualified doctors. It also called for a relaxation of immigration rules for doctors to give providers ‘freedom’ to decide how to recruit and reward employees.

Responding to the comments BMA council chair Mark Porter said ‘demotivating staff by attacking their terms and conditions would be hugely damaging to the NHS.’

“Nationally agreed contracts are fundamental to a national health service. Regionally negotiated pay would undermine the national ethos of the NHS, waste resources, and lead to recruitment problems for some areas.”