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Last Updated: Oct 11, 2012 - 10:22:56 PM
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Hewitt fulfils commitment to NHS workers

Oct 8, 2005 - 5:52:00 AM
“The NHS is a unique institution and this agreement demonstrates that all parties central to its success - the public sector, unions and the private sector - can work together effectively to achieve the reform of the NHS to create a modern health service”.

[RxPG] Thousands of staff working in the NHS are set to benefit from a new agreement that will bring cleaning, portering, catering and other similar “soft facilities management” services provided by contractors into line with the NHS Agenda for Change pay deal, Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt announced today.

The joint statement agreed in partnership between the Department of Health, relevant NHS Unions, the CBI and BSA and the new NHS Employers organisation is part of the NHS Agenda for Change programme (covering 1.2 million NHS employees) to create a modern flexible workforce that delivers better health outcomes.

From October next year, the new deal will give cleaners, porters and other soft facilities management staff working for contractors, pay and conditions no less favourable overall than the Agenda for Change pay deal, and provide for better development and training and closer involvement in NHS workforce reforms.

Interim measures have also been agreed.

* From 1 October 2005 staff covered by the agreement will receive a minimum of £5.65 an hour basic pay
* From 1 April 2006, the minimum hourly rate of basic pay will rise to £5.88 (matching the current minimum under Agenda for Change)

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said:

“Cleaners, porters, and catering assistants are all part of the team that delivers care to patients in every hospital, whether employed directly or through a contractor. They are key to delivering cleaner hospitals, reducing MRSA, helping patients access services and ensuring patients have nutritious meals.

“Government, unions, and private sector employers recognise that hospitals function better when there is good team working between clinical and support staff, and fair rewards irrespective of how they are employed. This deal will help ensure better services for patients in our hospitals.

“The NHS is a unique institution and this agreement demonstrates that all parties central to its success - the public sector, unions and the private sector - can work together effectively to achieve the reform of the NHS to create a modern health service”.

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, the UK's largest union said:

"This is a great step forward towards ending the two-tier workforce in the NHS. The proposals will also avert the threat of widespread industrial action by contracted out staff across the country.

"The new £5.88 minimum wage will drive up standards and help tackle the recruitment and retention problems experienced by many hospitals. It will also give a welcome boost to staff who, as a result, will feel more valued and respected as an integral part of the NHS team. The agreement will also provide staff with better training opportunities which is very welcome."

Steve Barnett, Director of NHS Employers said:

“This is an important agreement which will make a big difference to the lives of thousands of staff who are part of the wider NHS team . They provide a crucial service and are integral to positive patient experiences.”

Norman Rose, BSA Director-General said: "Under the proposed deal announced today, private sector employers will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to deliver high-quality services to the NHS through flexibility and innovation and not through cutting costs. We welcome this deal as setting the foundations for a new way forward in which we and the public sector unions can work together with NHS Trusts in the interests both of our employees and the patients whom we serve."

John Tizard, Director of Public Services at the CBI said: “We welcome this agreement and the commitment to continued reform it embodies. This agreement recognises that there are a wide range of private and voluntary providers involved in delivering health services and their staff have an important part to play in NHS reform”

Publication: Department of Health, UK
On the web: www.dh.gov.uk 

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 Additional information about the news article
1. Agenda for Change is a major reform of terms and conditions for NHS employees and is the most wide-ranging reform of pay and conditions of service ever undertaken since the launch of the NHS in 1948. This is currently being rolled out to NHS own staff.

2. This agreement relates specifically to the NHS in England and the issues of Agenda for Change. Agenda for Change only directly affects NHS employees. A significant number of cleaning, catering and others who work exclusively on NHS contracts, and form part of the wider NHS team delivering care to patients, are employed by private sector companies. The new agreement, which takes the for of a joint statement on good practice, will provide staff and trades unions with the reassurance that terms and conditions will be no less favourable overall than the equivalent NHS staff, while giving the private sector the flexibility it needs to design its own reward systems and deliver efficient, good quality services.

3. The staff covered by the joint statement are those providing “soft facilities management” services that, broadly, support the delivery of patient care at a hospital. These include cleaning, catering and hospital porters, and these services are expected to account for the majority of staff. However other areas such as linen and laundry, reception and switchboard and related services will normally be included as well. The joint statement does not apply to staff working in services that are not so clearly focused on patient care, such as land and buildings maintenance, which are often referred to as “hard facilities management”.

4. With effect from 1 October 2006, all private sector staff who benefit from the new approach will be entitled to terms and conditions of employment no less favourable than the Agenda for Change equivalent. They will commit to introducing systems for job evaluation and staff development, and to working with the NHS on issues such a cleaners progressing to train as health care assistants.

5. In the period between 1 October 2005 and full implementation on 1 October 2006, staff will benefit from the following interim arrangements:

(a) from 1 October 2005 staff covered by the agreement will receive a minimum of £5.65 an hour basic pay; supervisors will receive a minimum of £5.93 an hour; in addition, all staff will benefit from an additional 2 days annual leave;

(b) from 1 April 2006, the minimum hourly rate of basic pay will rise to £5.88 (matching the current minimum under Agenda for Change); supervisors will move to a minimum of £6.17 per hour; those working in the London area will receive a one-off payment of £500 in inner London, £375 in outer London and £125 in London fringe areas;

6. The costs of funding the new arrangements are to be shared in the interim period between the public and contractors. From 1 October 2006 the costs of the “full” arrangements will be met by the public sector. The annual costs of the “full” regime from 1 October 2006 are estimated at £75 million and have been provided for in PCT allocations.

7. Individual NHS bodies, contractors and unions will be invited to endorse the agreed approach. The Department of Health will contact NHS organisations as soon as possible to encourage them to do so, and contractors wishing to bid for new NHS contracts will also need to make a commitment to it. Should industrial relations or service quality issues arise in relation to soft FM contracts of the department's first questions will be whether the best practice it sets out has been followed.

8. The parties issuing the joint statement are:

* The Department of Health
* NHS Employers
* The CBI and the Business Services Association
* Unison, GMB, and TGWU

9. The joint statement affects only the NHS in England. It does not apply to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, nor is it relevant to any other area of public services.
For any corrections of factual information, to contact the editors or to send any medical news or health news press releases, use feedback form

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