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31 October 2003

Consultants 8.5% pay rise having demoralising effect on NHS, says UNISON

UNISON, Scotland's largest health care union, is today warning that the recently announced consultants' pay rise of 8.5% is having a demoralising impact on the NHS in Scotland.

UNISON is calling on the Scottish Executive to fully fund the pay agreement and roll out the increase to other health service workers.

UNISON's Scottish Organiser for Health, Jim Devine, said, "While we welcome any group of workers improving their pay and conditions, the 8.5% pay rise for consultants is having a demoralising impact on the NHS.

"There are two reasons. Firstly, while the headline figure is an increase of 8.5%, documents in our possession show that the real rise will be around 15-18%. This increase will cost the average Scottish Trust around three quarters of a million pounds. As the deal is not being fully funded, a doctor's pay rise could be a nurse's unemployment. Unless the Scottish Executive fully fund this increase, the only way that Trusts and Health Boards can implement this agreement is by either reducing staff numbers or services.

"Secondly, this year, nurses, porters, admin and clerical and lab staff all received an increase of 3.25%. Many senior managers working in the Scottish Health Service received a pay rise of 2.25%. If we are a health care family, it is a bit galling to see one small group - admittedly an important one - marching off with the family silver.

"Therefore, UNISON are calling on the Scottish Executive to fully fund the Consultants' pay deal and ensure that the increase is rolled out to other NHS staff."

For Further Information Please Contact: Jim Devine, Scottish Organiser 0845 355 0845(w) 07876 441239(m