The row between NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) over the funding of a pay rise for staff in NHS public health services will be ‘worrying and unsettling’ for staff and their employers, the director of policy of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) has warned.
The money, estimated to be worth £50m, is due to be paid this year for the annual pay rise promised by the government to staff in NHS public health services.
Last year, ministers committed that the government would fund the pay rise deal they agreed for Agenda for Change staff, including those working on public health services which are commissioned by local authorities.
But both the DHSC and NHS England are refusing to fund it, leaving the providers of these services facing large gaps in their income.
Responding to news of the dispute between the government and NHS England over the funding, David Furness, director of policy at IHPN said: ‘Last year the government rightly committed to ensuring that all staff on Agenda for Change contracts will be awarded a pay rise whether they work for NHS trusts or independent and third sector organisations.
‘However staff on Agenda for Change delivering services funded by Local Authorities are still losing out, with no confirmed funding for this group of staff. This means that the news of a row between NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care over who should pay for the rise will be worrying and unsettling for both affected staff and their employers.’
Furness went onto say what is urgently needed is confirmation that funding will be made available for staff on Agenda for Change delivering contracts funded by local authorities across NHS, independent, voluntary and social enterprise providers and a clear mechanism to ensure that all employers are funded to pass the pay rise on to their staff.
‘Public health services already face severe workforce shortages and as we try to move towards more joined up care, we cannot have a pay system that sets up artificial barriers between services and ultimately undermines patient care,’ Furness concluded.