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"Agenda For Change"

Volume 405: debated on Monday 19 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with unions regarding the Agenda for Change; and what progress has been made in ensuring that pay and conditions for staff are the same across the NHS in all hospitals. [112829]

The proposed new pay system for non-medical staff in the national health service, "Agenda for Change", has been designed to ensure fair pay and conditions of service and is underpinned by equal pay principles. Negotiators representing the four United Kingdom Health Departments, NHS employers and 17 NHS staff organisations successfully concluded talks on the package of pay modernisation proposals in November 2002. The Department of Health published full details of the proposed agreement on 3 March 2003. Copies are available in the Library.If the proposed agreement is ratified following consultation by staff organisations, it will be introduced in a number of early implemented sites from June 2003 and will be implemented across the rest of the NHS from October 2004. We intend that those NHS trusts chosen as prospective NHS foundation trusts will form a further wave of "early implementer" sites before national implementation of the new pay system begins.The information in this answer relates to England. Pay for NHS staff in Scotland and Wales is a matter for the devolved administrations. While the institutions in Northern Ireland are dissolved, responsibility rests with Ministers in the Northern Ireland Office.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures are in place to ensure that foundation trusts will not be able to deviate from the "Agenda for Change" process and develop their own pay and conditions for staff. [112830]

If the proposed new national health service pay system, "Agenda for Change", is ratified following consultation by staff organisations, we intend that those NHS organisations chosen as prospective NHS foundation trusts will become early implementer sites. This would mean they begin to implement the new pay system in advance of national implementation from October 2004.

Under the proposed agreement, NHS foundation trusts will be among the organisations specifically represented on the new NHS Staff Council and the Pay Negotiating Council for NHS staff groups not within the remit of the Pay Review Bodies.

The proposed agreement includes a range of pay flexibilities for all NHS organisations. NHS foundation trusts, as NHS organisations with a track record of good performance, will have greater freedom to use these flexibilities.