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06/10/13 13:05

Scotland will block NHS ‘pay grab’

Scottish Health Secretary plans union summit over UK NHS pay plans.

Scotland’s Health Secretary Alex Neil has vowed to stop any attempt by the UK Health Secretary to prevent pay rises or to change the terms and conditions of NHS staff in Scotland.

The UK Government has confirmed it has told UK wide pay review bodies that it wants to renege on a 1 per cent pay rise for NHS workers that could have implications for Scotland.

The Scottish Government has made proposals to the same pay review bodies, proposing a pay rise in 2014/15 to further help for those on low wages and ensure that no one employed by the health service earns less than the Scottish Living Wage and maintain progression.

These improvements in pay have all been provided for within an NHS budget that will also continue to protect and improve patient services. Mr Neil will write to unions shortly calling for a summit to discuss the UK plans.

Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Alex Neil MSP said:

“This is nothing short of bad faith from the UK Government. To take the pay rise back from workers hands will destabilise the NHS across the UK and damage morale.

“The Scottish Government has no intention of following Westminster’s lead and we will use our independence over the health service to block this move.

“But with UK wide agreement to Agenda for Change – which established pay policy in the health service - this damaging approach could hit Scottish services, and under the current funding settlement could drive down Scotland’s budget in the future.

"The UK Government’s aim here is clear, to undermine the publicly-owned NHS and break it up for further privatisation and American-style health insurance.

"My message to the UK Health Secretary is unequivocal - Scotland rejects this proposal.

"We are using our powers over public services to pursue a very different route to the Westminster government. Under this Government NHS staff will get the pay rise we've pledged, every member of NHS staff will be paid at least the living wage, and Scotland's NHS will stay in public hands and stay free at the point of need.

“I will be writing to trade unions as soon as possible to arrange a summit to urgently consider this proposal and ensure it finds no foundation in Scotland.

“This kind of attack on public services shows the clear benefit to having an independent Scottish health service – as we do now and of securing the independence over all the decisions that affect Scotland.

“The real risk for Scotland’s public services is that without independence we are tied financially to the decisions of Westminster and every penny taken out of the NHS by scrapping wage rises and privatising services in England means lower funding for Scotland’s public services in future.”