Pay plan for nurses rejected by union

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THE Royal College of Nursing yesterday declared its fundamental opposition to the intended introduction of performance-related pay into the National Health Service, writes Barrie Clement.

In a guide for its 290,000 members, the union argued that there was overwhelming evidence that such salary systems undermined morale rather than enhanced it.

College officials rushed out the advice in response to announcements last week from the National Association of Health Authorities and Trusts and the NHS executive saying that local pay arrangements linked to performance would be at the 'top of the health service agenda'.

The guide, sent to 3,000 negotiators, says: 'Nurses' work cannot be reduced to easily quantifiable targets, such as 'patient throughput'. Such a target could be at the expense of service quality, something that is much more difficult to measure.'

Christine Hancock, general secretary of the RCN, said that basing pay on individual performance was unworkable. 'Nurses work as a team and their work is so interlinked to other health professionals' that it would be impossible to assess individually.'

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