MP urges trusts to say no to lower pay

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BLYTH Valley MP Ronnie Campbell is calling on the north east’s regional National Health Service trusts to reject government plans to impose regional pay levels.

The call follows a decision by northern nurses to rule out joining a pay cartel set up in the south west of the region.

Mr Campbell said: “It is outrageous that the coalition government seems to think that a nurse or hospital worker in my constituency is worth less than one in Surbiton.

“This is all about expecting front-line nursing staff to bear the brunt of cuts while protecting pay in the southern Tory heartlands – and this at a time the Tories are hell-bent on back-door privatisation of the NHS itself.

“That’s a disgrace.”

Mr Campbell fears that under the government’s plans, trusts would have to compete against each other for staff.

That would increase health inequalities between different parts of the country and be bad for staff morale, he said.

Mr Campbell added: “I warmly welcome the principled stance by those northern NHS trusts who have decided to have nothing to do with the cartel, and I hope the rest will follow.”

The move has also been welcomed by the Royal College of Nursing’s regional bosses.

Estephanie Dunn, the college’s regional operations manager, said: “It is the right decision for all who care about the health of this region’s economy.

“Any moves to pay our region’s nurses less than their counterparts in other parts of the country would inevitably mean that our nurses will have less money to spend in local businesses around the region. That is not good for anyone.

“It also goes to the heart of a fundamental issue of fairness.

“Nursing is a difficult job in difficult times, and nurses should be remunerated at a fair rate.”

The college is also appealing to the north east’s remaining trusts to give the regional pay cartel a wide berth.