LETTER : Don't let pay row divide the NHS

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Sir: Celia Hall's article, "Nurses lose out as doctors win 2.5%" (10 February), is an unjustified attack on the medical profession. It is very much to be regretted that local pay has been imposed on the nursing profession, but it is nonsense to suggest that nurses have born the brunt of the consultants' powerful opposition to local pay bargaining.

The medical and nursing professions have been united in their opposition to the introduction of local pay in the health service. The British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing have campaigned jointly at both national and local level to prevent its imposition. In our own trust, a joint delegation of British Medical Association and Royal College of Nursing representatives met our local Member of Parliament to present our case.

Both professional groups are united in their opposition to local pay, not primarily because of financial considerations but because they believe that the imposition of such a policy will erode and eventually destroy the national character of the health service.

I hope that any attempt to drive a wedge between the two professions on this issue will be unsuccessful. Together they represent the best hope for the preservation of the integrity of the NHS.

Yours faithfully,

TIM SMITH

Chairman, Local Negotiating Committee

Royal Berkshire and Battle Hospitals NHS Trust

Reading

10 February

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