South West pay cartel criticised for wasting taxpayers' money
The Royal College of Nursing has criticised the South West pay consortium for wasting thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money.
The South West pay terms and conditions consortium (dubbed the South West Pay Cartel) published a report on March 1.
The consortium was set up to create a regional pay system and fix pay, terms and conditions for healthcare staff within the NHS.
Each trust paid in £10,000 of public money to pay for consultants to look into plans to set up regional pay. Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust was one of the 19 trusts who joined the consortium.
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Jeannett Martin, regional director for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) South West region said: "The campaign by the RCN and other staff unions has been successful in diverting the pay cartel from their original intention to implement local pay systems across the South West region.
"I think staff (and the wider public) will understandably ask what these trusts have spent £200,000 of tax payers' money on. This paper does no more than highlight ways to ensure that the current national pay system is implemented properly. Frankly, every trust should not only have been aware of the information in this report but could already have acted on it.
"I would urge all trusts to formally withdraw from the pay cartel immediately and begin rebuilding relationships with their staff who are the very people who can offer realistic, sustainable answers to the financial challenges."
The RCN campaigned against the proposals and warned of the "detrimental impact of making terms and conditions worse for South West front line staff than elsewhere in the country", cautioning that "if NHS employers are unable to fill vacancies with the right staff then they cannot deliver high quality, safe care".