Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has claimed that the unions involved in negotiating the new NHS pay deal on behalf of staff believe that the terms of the agreement will be ‘very motivating’ for workers.
Speaking on ITV’s Peston on Sunday programme, Mr Hunt was asked whether the pay rises within the new deal, which no longer includes automatic annual pay increments, were really as generous as was being made out
But he defended the proposal, claiming it was ‘much more modern’ than the current ‘old fashioned’ system.
He said: ‘The annual increments are an old fashioned way of doing things, where your pay goes up year in year out regardless of your performance. A modern system [such as the new pay deal] is one where we have high skilled employees who are highly paid, and therefore their pay goes up as their skill level goes up. And we need a proper system of appraisals to do this.
‘So this deal, which has been accepted by the vast majority of the unions, replaces the current system with a much more modern system. It’s a “something for something” deal’.
When pressed whether the scrapping of annual increments for skill-based increases would ‘change the teamworking culture within the NHS, Mr Hunt claimed that wasn’t the view of the unions who agreed to put the proposal to their members.
He added: ‘The unions think the new system will be very motivating for staff, that if staff get more skills, get properly appraised and trained, then their pay will go up.
Earlier this week unions, including the Royal College of Nursing, agreed a new pay deal with NHS management and the Government that will be put to members in April.