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National Health Service Pay

Volume 129: debated on Wednesday 9 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) on what basis his Department has not in the past eight years fully funded pay awards in the National Health Service:(2) what proportion of pay awards to nurses have been met through extra central Government funding for each of the last five years; and what studies have been made and what steps taken by his Department over that period to ensure that the difference between each pay award and the Government allocation for that purpose could be made up without detriment to levels of patient care.

Prior to 1982–83 health authorities were funded on a system of volume planning and funds were provided by the Government to meet increases in expenditure. Since then authorities have operated under the cash planning system and are expected to meet all expenditure within the total resources available to them. Nevertheless in three of the last four years we have provided additional funds to help authorities meet the cost of review body awards.Neither initial allocations nor (except in 1984–85) additional funding was earmarked specifically for the pay of individual staff groups such as nurses. The following proportions are a notional assessment based on the nurses' percentage share of the cost of review body awards and relate to the period since the inception of the nurses review body.

Proportion of cost of nurses' pay award in:
Initial allocationAdditional fundingTotal
per cent.per cent.per cent.
1984–8539·546·586·1
1985–8680·480·4
1986–8777·117·794·9
1987–8839·454·193·5
Totals do not sum due to rounding.Although no specific studies of the type described have been undertaken, health authorities are aware of the need to plan flexibly to meet any pay and price pressures that arise and of the additional revenue available to them as a result of savings released by their cost improvement programmes.