NHS Pay Review Body echoes health union views on 7 day NHS
A week after the Chancellor effectively sidelined the NHS Pay Review Body by imposing a 4 year “deal” on pay, the PRB has published its long awaited report on seven day services for NHS staff.
The report sets out the conclusions and observations of PRB members who gathered written and verbal evidence from NHS unions, NHS employers and the health departments in England, Wales, N Ireland.
The conclusions make it clear that the Agenda for change contract arrangements are not a significant barrier to implementing 7 day services but that a substantial problem could be insufficient numbers of appropriately trained staff, something all unions have consistently stated.
The Pay Review Body state that staff engagement and involvement in changes to services is critical, that a move to 7 day working requires more resources (i.e. more staff!). Furthermore, they found that evidence from both the Department of Health and NHS employers on early options was neither fully modelled nor costed.
There was insufficient evidence to support wholesale changes to unsocial hours definitions and premia in isolation.
Overall the executive summary prepared by this independent body which gathers and analyses the evidence provides a resume of what has been in effect the key arguments made by NHS unions, that we already provide services over 7 days and that we remain willing to continue to do so provided there is clinical evidence it improves patient outcomes, and that there are sufficient staff who are properly rewarded.
Stretching 5 day services over 7 days is doomed to failure.